The Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada is an oral history and community engagement project to collect the diverse history of the Latinx communities of Las Vegas and surrounding areas. The project will expand the diversity of the voices preserved by UNLV University Libraries Special Collections and Archives, involve students in connecting with the community, and engage multiple generations in reflecting on the lives and experiences of the region’s Latinx residents.
Preserving and sharing the life stories of Southern Nevada’s Latinx communities is important because these individuals and groups have played a significant role in our region’s history but are underrepresented in the historical records. Today, approximately 29% of Southern Nevada’s residents and more than 25% of UNLV’s student body are Latinx. Special Collections and Archives want to ensure that the contributions of these diverse communities are preserved so that future generations can learn more about their achievements, aspirations, and experiences.
The Latinx community is the fastest growing population segment in America. Many Latinx residents have played a central role in the progress of the educational system, the business sector, diverse religious denominations, and political advancement of Southern Nevada. Therefore, these oral histories will make substantial contributions to both public and academic discourses on change and evolution in the Las Vegas Valley.
Student Oral Historians
Under the direction of Claytee White, the Director of the UNLV Oral History Research Center, and Barbara Tabach, Project Coordinator, UNLV University Libraries will hire 8-12 bilingual UNLV students to collect 90 oral histories from Latinx residents from September 2018 through May 2020. Students will conduct in-depth interviews with a wide array of individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives. The oral histories will cover topics such as immigration and settlement, aspirations and challenges, family life, employment and economic issues, religion and culture, gender, neighborhoods and businesses, politics, social and community events, discrimination, activism, and more. The oral histories will be transcribed, edited, and made available online for all to study.
Oral histories bridge generations. Oral histories allow subsequent generations to hear or read first-hand testimony from other community members about what they have thought, done, and achieved in their lifetimes. By training UNLV students to conduct oral histories, we hope the experience will inspire UNLV students to participate more knowledgeably and actively in our community, will enhance their critical thinking and professional skills to help them graduate and succeed in the future, and will help them interrelate more effectively in diverse, intergenerational settings.
UNLV Libraries will host three community events in 2019 and 2020 to encourage dialogue between Latinx generations about their experiences living and working in Southern Nevada. Each event will feature a panel discussion with the student oral historians and selected interviewees with compelling stories to share. Each event will focus on a theme that has resonated in the interviews, such as working in the tourism industry, ensuring cultural continuity in a new place, or migration stories.
The Latinx Voices Advisory Board is made up of members of the Southern Nevada Latinx community and other supporters who have generously agreed to help guide the Latinx Voices project. Current members include:
- Bob Coffin, Las Vegas City Councilman, Ward 3
- Maria Dent, AARP Nevada State Director
- Bethany Khan, Director of Communications & Digital Strategy at the Culinary Workers Union Local 226
- Magaly Munoz-Mejorado, National Diversity Relations Manager at MGM Resorts International
- Jose L. Melendrez, Assistant Vice President, Office of Diversity Initiatives, UNLV
- Margarita Rebollal
- Tony Sanchez, Senior Vice President, Government and Community Strategy, NV Energy
- Tom Wright, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of History, UNLV
Example Oral Histories
- Interview with Geoconda Arguello Kline
- Interview with Frances Montes
- Interview with Mirna Preciado
- Interview with Linda Rivera
Nominate a Narrator
We are seeking suggestions for individuals we should interview beginning in fall 2018. Please complete this form to nominate a narrator and provide us with contact information.
- "MGM Resorts Pledges $25K to Support University Libraries Latinx Voices Project", UNLV Today, April 23, 2018
- "UNLV gets grant to create ‘Latino Voices’ oral histories," Las Vegas Review Journal, January 30, 2018.
- "Special Collections and Archives Receives $100K NEH Grant to Launch Latino Voices Project," What's New in Special Collections and Archives, December 17, 2017.
The UNLV Libraries needs your help to make this project a success. In order to release the funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, we need to raise matching funds from the community. Donate now to Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada or call (702) 895-2239 to support this project.