Multicultural Roots Project: Stories from Santa Rosa's Black, Indigenous, People of Color

April 2021: Stories of Resilience and Community Cohesion

Japanese Americans in Sonoma County During World War II

Web_So Co Japanese Americans WWII

In Sonoma County, about 800 Japanese Americans and immigrants were taken from their homes after President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 in February 1942. At the end of March 1942, U.S. Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt issued a proclamation that began the forced evacuation of all Japanese Americans on 48-hour notice. Most Japanese American residents were not able to make arrangements for their property and belongings during that time frame and many lost their property and belongings, including those living in Sonoma County. For many, it was and still is hard to talk the memories, trauma, and other long-term effects experienced from forced internment. READ MORE

Lucy Cadena – Jazzux: Founding Member and First Director of KBBF Radio

Web_Lucy J Cadenas

Lucy Cadena – Jazzux was a long-time community advocate actively involved in the founding of several community-based organizations, including KBBF Radio, Alliance Medical Center, Sonoma County Head Start Council, and Mujeres Unidas. She also helped to establish Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Windsor and the non-profit Get on the Bus, which arranged visits between incarcerated mothers and their children just before Mother's Day. She was also involved in other organizations such as Latino Unidos, North Bay Chicano Educators, and the National Farm Workers’ Association (NFWA). READ MORE

Dorothy Wyatt: Community Builder and Charter Member of Community Baptist Church

Web_ Dorothy Wyatt

In the 1940s and 1950s, the Black population in Santa Rosa was small, but mighty and determined group that strived to create a space for their community. Dorothy Wyatt was a part of that group. She was actively involved in and a part of the well-known Community Baptist Church in Santa Rosa. Her efforts and contributions were so significant in the origins of the Community Baptist Church and how it has evolved into what it is today. Being a part of the mission and organizing for the church showed how much she cared about forming a space for her community to congregate and share their faith. READ MORE

Miss Bea Harris: Dedicated Educator for Santa Rosa Children and Parents

Web_Bea Harris

A dedicated educator, Bea Harris, “Miss Bea” to her students, tried to make every moment a teaching moment while she worked to understand little ones and ensured that they all received the education and respect they deserved. Miss Bea worked at Lincoln and Burbank elementary schools for eight years before enrolling at Santa Rosa Junior College and becoming a certified nursery schoolteacher in the mid 1960s. In 1973, she became Director of the Multi-Cultural Child Development Center and served in the position for 16 years. Miss Bea officially retired from teaching at the age of 80 years old. READ MORE

Previously Featured Stories

  1. Lucy Cadena – Jazzux: Founding Member and First Director of KBBF Radio

    Lucy Jazzux, also known as Lucy Cadena, was a long-time community advocate actively involved in the founding of several community-based organizations. She was born in San Francisco on December 17, 1933. While living in San Francisco, she met Raymond...

  2. Miss Bea Harris: Dedicated Educator for Santa Rosa Children and Parents

    If ever there was an educator in Santa Rosa whose students still benefit from as adults, it is Bea Harris, or as most adults remember her as, “Miss Bea.” A dedicated educator, Bea tried to make every moment a teachable moment while she worked to...

  3. Dorothy Wyatt: Community Builder and Charter Member of Community Baptist Church

    In the 1940s and 1950s, the Black population in Santa Rosa was small and although there were few, they were a mighty and determined group that strived to create a space for their community. Dorothy Wyatt was a part of that group. She was actively...

  4. World War II: Japanese Americans in Sonoma County

    Photos from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration   On December 7, 1941, the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was attacked and bombed by the Japanese military. There were over 2,000 American casualties and over...

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What is the Multicultural Roots Project?

"This project is important to me because I grew up thinking my community was diverse only because of the people I saw. I didn't know the history was so rich and included leaders and social justice pioneers from BIPOC communities." - Monse Salas, AmeriCorp VISTA and Youth Intern at Latino Service Providers

The Multicultural Roots Project was created to increase visibility for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in Sonoma County, with a particular focus on Santa Rosa; and to recognize, through historical stories from BIPOC, contributions and impacts that have shaped Santa Rosa and Sonoma County. Working with local historians and community partners, Community Engagement staff gather stories and facts about local BIPOC leaders, as well as historical events and places that have shaped Santa Rosa and Sonoma County into what it is today. Each month, we will share five of these stories with the public through multiple communication channels, including the City’s website, social media and this newsletter.

Selection Process

Stories are selected using a variety of sources including local historical books such as Glimpses by Rev. Ann Gray-Byrd, Santa Rosa: A 19th Century Town by Gaye LaBaron, et. al.; Sonoma State digital archives; Sonoma County Library resources; and articles from local media such as the Press Democrat. The Community Engagement Office's AmeriCorp VISTAs select stories to focus on and conduct research on six (6) historical leaders or events and four (4) current community leaders. These ten (10) stories are then given to the Project Advisory Group for review and selection of five final stories. The City's Community Advisory Board provides assistance with the Project by brainstorming current and historical leaders and by assisting with disseminating the stories.

Project Advisory Team

  • Ariana Diaz de León, Community Member
  • David Escobar, Sonoma County Lowrider Council 
  • Kristi Gray, Community Member
  • Felecia Ford, Community Member 
  • Evette Minor, Community Member
  • Guadalupe Navarro, Latino Service Providers
  • Shawntel Reece, Community Member
  • Evan Phillips, Community Member
  • Alicia Sanchez, Community Member