Wilcox and Selma Civil Rights featured in Voting Rights Exhibit April-May 2019

We are delighted to invite all to attend the free, bilingual, exhibit and series of events devoting to Voting Rights. It is an honor to serve as curator of this important exhibit dedicated to the memory of civil rights photographer Bob Fitch.

Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice / ¡Vote!  Su Voto es Su Voz, is an exhibit of art and artifacts with films and educational programs about historic and current voting rights issues, to run April 3-May 26, 2019.  The public is invited to the opening reception Sunday April 7th, 2-4 PM, Pajaro Valley Arts gallery 37 Sudden Street, Watsonville, CA.

Originally co-imagined by Bob Fitch and Maria Gitin, Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice/ ¡Vote! Su Voto es Su Voz seeks to educate, inspire, and develop greater interest in the nonpartisan democratic process. Detailing the involvement of Monterey Bay residents in voting rights issues, current and former Watsonville residents who were active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and Chicano Voting Rights action of the 1980’s share their experiences through art, educational panels, and film.  Selections of Bob Fitch photos and Maria Gitin’s civil rights movement archives illustrate their experience as young voting rights workers in Alabama. Artifacts from Santa Cruz County Elections Clerk Gail Pellerin and Watsonville City Clerk Beatriz Vasquez Flores will be on display. A visual timeline developed by local artists guides visitors through voting rights history. Contemporary art work by regional artists highlights current events and responds to the question: What does the right to vote mean to me?

All events are free, bilingual and appropriate for students as well as adults.  Contributions to Pajaro Valley Arts free bilingual programs are always welcome. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

For interviews and information about the exhibit and educational programs:
Maria Gitin msgitin@mariagitin.com

For more information on the gallery: Judy Stabile, Curator stabilejud@aol.com

www.pvaarts.org  or call the gallery: 831.722.3062

PVA Vote! Confirmed Events


All events are free, open to the public, suitable for students and adults, and ADA compliant.

Thursday April 4, 2019   7:00-9:00 PM 
Voting Rights Films with Watsonville Film Festival – Watsonville Civic Center Community Room (4thfloor)
            Watsonville Vote: Summer in the City: 18 second PSA made by Watsonville Student interns with Beatriz Flores, City Clerk
            Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot   40 minute film from the Southern Poverty Law Center
Narrated by Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, The Bridge to the Ballot is a crucial reminder that each of us has the ability to bring about powerful social change and will help inspire young people and communities across the nation to exercise their right to participate in our democracy. The documentary features the young students in the fight for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. They and their teachers stood up against injustice despite facing intimidation, arrests and violence. By organizing and marching these lesser known change-makers influenced one of the most significant victories of the civil rights era. Those who participated in civil rights work in the South will be recognized.
Willie Velasquez:Su Voto es Su Voz– 40 min. PBS Film about the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP) – Willie Velásquez: Your Vote Is Your Voicetells the story of a grass-roots activist who mobilized Latinos into a movement that permanently altered the American political landscape. Filmed in Southwest Texas, this documentary features the organization that trained some Watsonville activists to organize and register voters at time of Gomez v Watsonville.  Those who participated in voter registration will be recognized.

April 3 – May 26, 2019 Exhibit Dates

Pajaro Valley Arts Gallery
37 Sudden Street, Watsonville, CA 95076
PVA Gallery open Wednesday through Sunday
11:00am to 4:00pm.

Historic and contemporary art and artifacts depict the struggle for voting rights in the South and here in Watsonville. Featured photographs by Bob Fitch, Matt Herron and Kathryn Mayo are accompanied by artifacts Maria Gitin’s experience as a teenage civil rights worker in Alabama. Art responding to the question: What do voting rights mean to me? Is on display and available for purchase.

Sunday April 7, 2019 2-4 PM
Opening Reception
Pajaro Valley Arts Gallery
37 Sudden Street, Watsonville, CA 95076

All are invited. There will be a very short program at 3 PM. Refreshments will be served.

Thursday April 11th7:00-9:00 PM 
“Councilwoman” Watsonville Film Festival in partnership with Pajaro Valley Arts

Watsonville Civic Community Room (4thfloor)

Before AOC, there was Carmen Castillo. “Councilwoman” is the inspiring story of Carmen Castillo, an immigrant Dominican housekeeper in a Providence hotel who wins a seat in City Council, taking her advocacy for low-income workers from the margins to city politics.



Sunday April 14th 2-3:30 
Maria Gitin Curator’s Talk- Guided Tour with Q & A in the Gallery

Maria Gitin and Bob Fitch envisioned this exhibit prior to Fitch’s 2016 death. Gitin will discuss how this exhibit developed in tandem with Pajaro Valley Arts as well her own history as “one of the white kids” who came South when Dr. King called on college students to assist with voter registration in 1965. This will be an informal event with opportunities to ask questions and make comments.

Thursday April 18, 6-8 PM
Florecer De La Mujer
Watsonville Civic Center Community Room (5th floor Civil Center)

Moderator: Shirley Castillo, MSW,

Panelists: Cruz Gomez, Raquel Mariscal, Shirley Flores Munoz, Naomi Quinonez,
Odelia Galvan Rodriguez, Rosie Murillo

Don’t miss this historic gathering of some of the original Latina community organizers who laid the ground work for the Southwest Voter Registration campaign (SVREP) and eventually the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) redistricting lawsuitGomez v Watsonville.  Successful plaintiff Cruz Gomez is traveling from her home in Mexico to make a rare appearance.

Thursday April 25th 6-8 PM This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight
Civil rights veteran Maria Gitin shares historic images and stories from grassroots workers in the nonviolent army that risked their lives for voting rights. NAACP Members and regional Civil Rights Veterans will be recognized. Discussion, Q &A., Book signing.

Signed copies of “This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight” will be available for sale with proceeds to Pajaro Valley Arts.

Saturday May 18th 2-4 PM   Landmark Voting Rights Victory: Gomez V Watsonville
Watsonville Civic Center Community Room 4thFloor
Moderator: Samuel Torres Jr, former Santa Cruz County Counsel
Panelists: Paule Cruz Takash, Anthropologist and Watsonville Chronicler; Daniel Dodge, MALDEF paralegal on Gomez v Watsonvilleand former Mayor Karina Cervantez, former Mayor and UCSC Doctoral Candidate

Participant-witnesses and historians detail how the Gomez v Watsonville case came about, how it was fought and won. Panelists will discuss their personal experiences and historic perspectives including contemporary impact

S_902_23_JesseEthelBrooks copy

Jesse Brooksr and his daughter Ethel Brooks, Freedom Fighters. Bob Fitch photo 1966 @ Stanford University Archives.

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