Juan Gonzalez

September 15, 2015

SIU to celebrate Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale celebrates Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month from mid-September through mid-October with a host of special events, guest speakers and cultural activities. 

“Citizenship, Solidarity and the Quest for Belonging” is the theme and the keynote speaker is Juan Gonzalez, the author of “Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America” and well-known Latino journalist. Gonzalez is a staff columnist for New York’s “Daily News” and co-host of “Democracy Now,” a daily morning news show that airs on more than 1,200 community and public radio and television stations in the United States and Latin America. 

He is a founder and former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and previous leader of the Young Lords, a 1960s militant civil rights organization, and former president of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights. A native of Ponce, Puerto Rico, Gonzalez grew up in New York, earning a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University. 

He will speak at 5 p.m. on Oct. 9 in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building Auditorium. The presentation is free and open to the public as are all of the other Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month activities. 

Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, the first Latina elected to statewide office, will speak on campus, too. Her presentation is at noon on Thursday, Sept. 17, in the Saluki Stadium Club Lounge. In addition, Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, is slated to talk at 7 p.m. on Oct. 20 in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. 

The month features a number of special presentations as well, including “The DACA Experience: Latinos and the Right to Education” at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 in the courtroom of the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building. 

“Unidos Somos Uno,” translated “United We Are One,” is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, in Room 1006 of Faner Hall. Participants will discuss the importance of building community for success at SIU. 

The festivities also include piñata and dance workshops, a poetry open mic and “Loteria,” a social event at 5 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Student Center’s Mississippi Room. It’s a social event built around the Mexican version of lottery, a sort of mix between bingo and typical lotteries, according to organizers. 

SIU students will be doing community service work, cleaning up around the public areas at Carbondale Middle School and the Boys and Girls Club on two different weekends. The popular Noche de Gala, a night of dancing and music, is set for 7-11 p.m. on Oct. 3 and the Festival Latino, at 1 p.m. Oct. 17 at Sam Rinella Field, is a can’t-miss day of food, entertainment and fun. 

For more information, or the complete schedule of events, visit www.inclusiveexcellence.siu.edu/hrc or call 618/453-2127. 

Sponsors of Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month include the Hispanic/Latino Resource Center, the Center for Inclusive Excellence, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, the Chicago Federation of Labor, CURCA, Phi Iota Alpha, DYLES, Latino Cultural Association, Immigration Project, Sigma Lambda Beta, Kappa Delta Chi, Hispanic Student Council, Counseling and Psychological Services, Engineers Without Borders, Saluki Rainbow Network and the SIU School of Law.