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News: LHIP: Christopher Mccomas

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This week we are highlighting our LHIP intern Chris!
Hello all, I am Chris Para Mccomas a senior a UC Berkeley from the Downtown Los Angeles area, and my major is American Studies with an emphasis in urban community structures, population, and influence, with a minor in journalism. My hobbies include photography, skateboarding, art, music, food, and exploring. I first heard about the Latino Heritage Internship program through my department’s monthly blog. After looking through the many positions, the one I applied for and eventually received seemed perfect for me and has been working out that way. I am the public history and interpretation intern for the Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail. In the beginning, my goal was to create relevant and accessible creative projects to share with the community. Now for my projects, I have chosen to hone into two sites, The Alameda Creek urban trail in Fremont, and the Peralta Hacienda in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. For the Peralta Hacienda, I am going to create a collage of photos to showcase the story, heritage, and day-to-day workings of this community space. As for the Fremont location, I will be showcasing how alternative uses of the trail space might manifest, through a short video project. Throughout my internship so far I have most enjoyed meeting with my team for our check-ins on zoom and in-person for hiking meetings. I’ve come to understand more thoroughly the rhythms and inner workings of more professional work environments like the National Park Service, while developing a new lens for interpretation and planning while navigating trails and park areas, with support from my supervisor. Additionally, I have been tasked to work on the National Park Service App content for the California Anza trial sites, which has been mainly researching, writing, and choosing the most appealing photo. For some of the more local sites, I have been able to visit, see the space, and take photos beforehand.
My favorite individual site visit so far has been the Peralta Hacienda in Oakland, it gave me a feeling of homeliness, from its exterior, services, and the surrounding neighborhood; there were a lot of elder community members relaxing in the shade on an early weekday afternoon, talking to their peers, some imbibing in the sun, there were also sets of wooden palates hung with painted murals covering walls with old buffed graffiti. It was interesting to note the distinctions of how different groups of people use the space depending on age, locational origin (perceived transient vs. native residents), or physical ability. The art, surrounding infographics, and interpretive signs often refer inwardly and highlight the communities cultures’ and heritage. I’ve always been interested in California history, especially at the local levels, and understanding the impact of the Spanish Colonial legacy. This internship position as a whole has been a very rewarding experience with many opportunities for learning and growth within professional development, team/community relations, as well as building on creative and journalistic skills I hope to further solidify.