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U of U Chicana/o Latino/a Awareness Events Scheduled for Autumn

September 11, 2003 — For nearly three decades the University of Utah has been host to annual Chicana/o Latino/a awareness events. “Envisioning a Future, Engendering Possibilities” is the theme for this year’s activities, to be held during September, October and November.

The events are sponsored by the University’s Chicana/o Studies, Office of the Associate Vice President for Diversity, Tanner Humanities Center, Office of the President, Ethnic Studies Program, Center for Ethnic Student Affairs, Moviemento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Azatlan, Office of Diversity and Community Outreach of the School of Medicine.

“The goals of the awareness activities are to increase knowledge and understanding of various cultures, ” notes Lisa Flores, director of Chicano/a Studies and coordinator of the Ethnic Studies program at the University. “But more importantly, the goal is to create a U community that is more inclusive and connected. These awareness activities bring people of all racial and ethnic groups together in ways that help us know, understand and appreciate particular cultures.”

This Sunday, Sept. 14, as part of the Great Salt Lake Book Festival, running in conjunction with Mexican Independence Day activities, writer Sandra Cisneros will present “All Parts from Mexico: Assembled in USA,” at 4 p.m., in the main auditorium of the Salt Lake City Main Public Library. Cisneros is, perhaps, best known for her internationally acclaimed novel House on Mango Street, which describes the life of a young Mexican American girl growing up in a working-class Chicago neighborhood, much as Cisneros herself did. A book signing will follow.

On Monday, Sept. 15, at 9:45 a.m., Cisneros, the recipient of numerous literary awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacArthur Foundation, will give readings from her 2002 novel Caramelo, in the Union Ballroom in the U’s Union Building. A book signing will follow. For more information on the event, contact Lisa Flores at 801-581-5606.

Tomas Benitez, executive director of Self-Help Graphics and Art, a visual arts center in East Los Angeles, will present “Through the Eyes of Self-Help Graphics: An Overview of Chicano/a Art & Culture,” on Thursday, Sept. 25, at 11 a.m., in the U’s Saltair Room. Benitez’ organization has been instrumental in enabling undiscovered Chicano/a artists to get exposure for their work. For more information on the event, contact Mary Ann Villarreal at 801-581-6121.

Los Alacranes, a Mexicano Chicano folk group, based in San Diego, will appear live in concert on Friday, Oct. 17, at noon, on the Union Plaza. A book signing with award-winning writer and director Jesús Salvador Treviño will follow the concert.

Treviño, who began his career in film and television as a student activist documenting the 1960s Chicano civil rights struggle with a super-8 camera, will give readings from his book Eyewitness: A Filmmaker’s Memoirs of the Chicano Movement on Saturday, Oct. 18, at noon, in the main auditorium of the Salt Lake City Main Public Library. Treviño’s television directing credits include NYPD Blue, Third Watch, ER, The Practice, Chicago Hope, Dawson’s Creek, New York Undercover, The Pretender, Nash Bridges, Martial Law, Brimstone, Seaquest, Star Trek: Voyager, Babylon Five, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Sweet Justice, Space: Above and Beyond, The Burning Zone and Hawkeye. Trevino will be available to sign books following his presentation. For more information on Treviño’s appearance, contact Ruby Chacon at

A Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibit, a display of the cultural observances honoring deceased loved ones and ancestors, will be held from Thursday, Oct. 30, through Tuesday, Nov. 4, in the U’s Union foyer. For more information, contact Rich Garcia at 801-587-9567.

A Día De Los Muertos dance will be held in the U’s Union Ballroom on Friday, Oct. 31st, from 8 p.m. to midnight. Entrance to the fundraiser, benefiting the M.E.Ch.A. student organization, is $5 per person or $3 with a can of food, which will be donated to charity. The dance will be casual dress, but costumes are welcome. For more information, contact Rich Garcia, 801-587-9567.

The M.E.Ch.A. (Moviemento Estudiantil Chicanos de Aztlan) 9th Annual High School Conference will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 4, from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the U’s Union Ballroom. M.E.Ch.A. brings about 500 Latina/o high school students to campus to encourage them to attend college-and to consider the University. For more information, contact Rich Garcia at 801-587-9567.

For more information on Chicana/o Latino/a Awareness events, call Lisa Flores at 801-581-5606