About STOCKTONSpeaks!


STOCKTONSpeaks! is a three year undertaking from its inception in midsummer 2002 to its target completion date in June, 2005. The stories of 54 Stocktonians have been collected, turned into narratives by Pacific students, and have been edited and formatted for verbal, written and electronic presentations. Storytellers, drama students and key community leaders will perform/present the stories and lead discussions regarding coming-of-age experiences within diverse cultures. These educational and entertaining presentations will be scheduled at different venues throughout Stockton beginning in late August, 2004. Please see the Calendar of Events for the schedule of presentations.


STOCKTONSpeaks!: When We Were Young: The Experiences of Stocktonians Across Three Generations is made possible by a grant from the CALIFORNIA COUNCIL FOR THE HUMANITIES (CCH) as part of the Council's statewide California Stories Initiative. STOCKTONSpeaks! is conducted under the auspices of the Harold S. Jacoby Center at University of the Pacific. Headed by Project Director Robert Benedetti, the executive director of the Jacoby Center, with Gladys Ikeda and Cynthia Rollins as assistant directors, STOCKTONSpeaks! hopes to bridge cultural and generational gaps and build leaders within the ethnic community and its organizations.

STOCKTONSpeaks! genesis began in Summer 2002 when representatives of several Stockton organizations attended a briefing by CCH at the Great Valley Center in Modesto. Building on the interest those discussions generated, the organizations eventually developed the current concept and successfully submitted it to CCH for funding. Stockton was one of eight California communities to receive funding from 140 that applied.

The project utilizes collected “coming-of-age” stories to bring a voice to traditionally under-represented communities in addressing the challenges facing ethnic groups, the City and its citizens. The display of the stories, presentations to City officials and the broader community, integration into the school curricula, and other project activities will bring the stories of ethnic Stocktonians to multiple audiences in the area. Presentation of the stories is anticipated in the following formats: group presentation/panel discussions, a traveling display, a Web site for information and as an archive, a CD-Rom, educational guides, training material, and school/library curriculum.

The goal of this project is to collect experiences across multi-ethnic, three generational families: grandparents (elders), parents (adults), and young people (youth), that can be used to open dialogue and strengthen the community. Narratives were collected from the following nine ethnic groups: Native American, African American, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Filipino, Mexican American, Cambodian and Hmong. Clearly this does not exhaust the diversity of Stockton, but represents only a starting point in the collection of living, oral histories.

Wherever possible, the stories of individuals were collected by a team that crossed ethnic and age lines. Putting this diverse group together has made the very act of collecting stories a means of building new bridges between community members. All participants were asked what aspects of their stories should be preserved across generations, which aspects should not be relived by the younger generation, and what aspects should be shared with the community and its officials. Underlying the stories is a record of how ethnic identities and cultural traditions are preserved and transmitted from one generation to the next.


STOCKTONSpeaks! was divided into four teams/committees to assist in advising and directing the collection and eventual presentation of the stories to the Stockton public. The executive director and two assistant directors facilitated the work of four advisory committees: Storytelling/Narrative, Evaluation, Presentation and Publicity. Each committee was chaired by a faculty member from University of the Pacific and a co-chair from the community. Members of each committee were drawn from educational, professional, and community organizations and have resources, expertise and experience in the subject sector.

In order to choose whom to interview, Stockton ethnic organizations were solicited for nominations of three candidate, three-generation, families for inclusion in the project. Two families, from each ethnic community, were included in the final product; the third family was to be interviewed only if needed. The classic family profile is three generations whose coming-of-age stories may range from those whose youth was spent in their native country, to those whose youth was split between their native country and the U.S., and those whose youth experiences are solely based in the United States.

STOCKTONSpeaks! also obtained nominations of three individuals from each ethnic group to be interviewers. To the extent possible, these nominations fell into the same generational classifications as the families—youth, adult, and elder. One of the interviewers was deemed the “convenor,” and took on the coordination responsibilities; all three received stipends. Bilingual ability was not necessary, as translators were provided when necessary. However, STOCKTONSpeaks! sought interviewers who had leadership capabilities.


STOCKTONSpeaks! Directors

Dr. Bob Benedetti, Executive Director,
Gladys Ikeda, Assistant Director,
Cynthia Rollins, Assistant Director,
Michelle DiGuilio, Project Coordinator

Evaluation Committee

Dr. Roy Childs, Chair
Tom Amato, Community Co-Chair
Bernice Endow
Elena Mangahas
Christine Maxwell
Linda Whittock

Presentation Committee

Brett DeBoer, Chair
Marilyn Guida, Community Co-Chair
Loreen Huey
Raoul and Linda Mora
Rico Reyes
Christine Tien

Publicity Committee

Dr. Carol Ann Hackley, Chair
Sophat Sorn, Community Co-Chair
Dianne Barth
Judith Buethe
Jennifer Held
Dennis Lee
Carrie Sass
Aeko Yoshikawa

Storytelling/Narrative Committee

Dr. Barb West, Chair
Charles Lee, Community Co-Chair
Alex Bailey
Dillon Delvo
Dr. Jennifer Helzer
Bonnie Lew
Dr. Sally Miller
Leon Ross
Dr. Amy Smith
Dr. Edith Sparks
Patty Wong
Mary Wedegaertner


Grant Ashley
Rann Chun
Janelle Fleming
Marilyn Gallup
Dianne Gini
Diana Guerra
Bunna Hang
Amy Her
Jessica Hernandez
Vaughn Lee
Adio Mangrum
Tonya Moreno
Laura Ochoa
Kathy Perez
Alma Riego
Kimi Yamamoto
Aeko Yoshikawa


Dale Fleming
Frank Gatdula
Lucky Lorbier
Dorothy Nishoka
Alma Paniagua
Claudia Pruett
Nim Ros
Todd Summers
Ray Tom


Bing Hui
Mas Ishihara


Jenna Aguilera
Jillian Altfest
Chris Anderson
Chris Bauer
Gina Beltrama
Danielle Bosch
Riley Buck
Christina Conrandy
Tucker Corriveau
Jess D’Anza
Janelle Fleming
April Foster
Lindsey Gaines
Tammy Hunt
Oksana Ivashchenko
Lori Iwamasa
Brett Kaufman
George Kim
G. Lee
Jacob Lethbridge
May Lin
Tara Runnels
Amy Smith
Nancy Snider
Brandon Stevens
Christina Tran

Sponsoring Organizations

Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
Asian Pacific Self-Development and Residential Association (APSARA)
Asian-American Chamber of Commerce
California Council for the Humanities
City of Stockton
Filipino American National Historical Society
The Haggin Museum
Hmong International Culture Institute, Inc.
Jacoby Center, COP, University of the Pacific
Lao Family Community of Stockton
Pacific Italian Alliance (PIA)
People and Congregations Together (PACT)
Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library System
United Cambodian Family


Sophoan Sorn
Chi Lan Cheng
Loreen Huey

Original Web Designer

Nancy Ladd, Graphic Designer