For a long time, I have been OBSESSED with the notion of “papelitos guardados” (secret/guarded little bits of paper.) I first read about it in the Latina Feminist Group’s anthology and it really resonated it with me- the idea that most of us will only ever record our story on little bits of paper. Receipts. The backs of napkins. Scraps of paper. And we may or may not ever share them with other people.

As Free Street approaches our 50th anniversary, we have been thinking a lot about history – who tells it? Who do it we tell it to? In that spirit, with support of The Chicago Community Trust and Illinois Humanities, we kicked off our Papelitos Guardados/Paper Memories project, which invites community members in five different neighborhoods to create a public event that documents their local history.

We pulled in a powerful team of Lead Artists to run workshops in their home communities: Annette Britton, Maritza Cervantes, Melissa DuPrey, Hilda Franco and Felicia Holman are working in Garfield Park, Back of the Yards, Humboldt Park, Pilsen, and South Shore. Workshop formats include knitting circles, storytelling events, and audio interviews.

Public showings will begin at the end of August. Let’s get a peek at these secret histories!