Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Lectures, movies, exhibits are among Hispanic Heritage events

KINGSVILLE - September 11, 2006

Contact: Julie Navejar
kajam03@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

Hispanic Heritage Month will kick off at Texas A&M University-Kingsville at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, with an occasion that combines annual events into one big celebration in the mall area of the Memorial Student Union Building (MSUB). This year’s theme is Hispanics and the American Dream: Their Historical Presence and Contributions to the Life and Culture of the United States.

The university community begins its commemoration of this special month with Fiesta Javelina combined with Piñata Fest. As part of Fiesta Javelina, student organizations choose a Latin American country and decorate a booth depicting the culture. There are games and food. Piñata Fest sees the Student Government Association leading the demonstration as guests join in the fun of making the colorful party favorites.

New this year to the Hispanic Heritage line-up is a Tertulia Literaria or literary gathering at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, in the Javelina Café in the MSUB. This is an open mike event where members of the university community may share their poems, short stories or any other literary work. Author Rogelio Agrasanchez will be on hand to sign his books and visit with guests and presenters.

Another big event this year will be a forum entitled Border, Boundaries and Frontiers: A Forum on Immigration Issuesbeginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, in ballroom A of the MSUB. This forum is organized by the American Democracy Project. Jose Angel Gutierrez, university alumnus, will be the moderator for the event.

The forum begins at 9 a.m. with a panel of international students who will talk about immigration-related problems they have encountered coming to school in the United States. The topic of the 10 a.m. panel will the federal governments role in immigration.

At 11 a.m., area ranchers will discuss problems they have with undocumented workers. Sheriffs from counties along the Texas border with Mexico will make up the 2 p.m. panel to discuss border violence and the duties of the county sheriff in those areas. The final group will consist of civil rights activists who will talk about work they have done to help undocumented workers.

Following the forum will be the final event of Hispanic Heritage Month, the annual banquet. It will begin at 6 p.m. in the ballrooms of the MSUB. Tickets are $10 and they may be purchased at the information desk in the MSUB.

The university’s Ballet Folklorico will hold two performances during Hispanic Heritage Month, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29-30. Both presentations begin at 7 p.m. in Jones Auditorium. Tickets are $3 in advance and $5 at the door. Advance tickets also may be purchased at information desk in the MSUB. University students will be admitted free with a valid A&M-Kingsville identification card.

Two Hispanic artists will be featured at exhibits during Hispanic Heritage Month. From Monday, Sept. 25, through Tuesday, Oct. 24, the work of Alfredo Cruz entitled Heaven & Earthwill be on display in the west gallery of the John E. Conner Museum.

Cruz is an alumnus of Texas A&I University receiving both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art from the university. He calls his work photo-digital compositions and this particular exhibit features 20 black and white digital images taken of cemetery angels. Dr. George Vargas, assistant art professor and art historian at A&M-Kingsville, curates this exhibit.

A reception honoring Cruz will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Conner Museum. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Ernest de Soto’s exhibit will be on display at the Ben Bailey Art Gallery from Tuesday, Oct. 10, through Saturday, Oct. 14. The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A reception for de Soto will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 10 in the gallery.

De Soto was the first Hispanic master printer in the United States. He will conduct a master workshop Oct. 10 and 11 in the gallery. He earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from University of Illinois. He is a native of Arizona.

The video series, Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, will be shown in four different brown bag sessions. All will be held at noon in room 219B of the MSUB and will be introduced by Dr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca, visiting scholar and lecturer in the language and literature department.

The first, Quest for Homeland, will be shown on Monday, Sept. 18. The film examines the events at Tierra Amarilla, N.M., that sparked a national movement for social justice. It focuses on the 1967 struggles by Mexican-Americans to regain ownership of New Mexico lands guaranteed them by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and then visits the landmark Denver Youth Conference in 1969, where hundreds of Mexican-American youth met to plan the national agenda.

The second part of the series, Struggle in the Fields, will be shown Monday, Sept. 25. This film examines the importance of César Chávez and his efforts to organize farm workers in the central valley of California. It describes the various components of Chávez’s strategy for farm worker self determination including strikes, boycotts, pilgrimages and fasts and emphasizes his commitment to nonviolence and the importance of faith and prayer in achieving his goal.

The third part of the series, Taking Back the Schools, will be shown Monday, Oct. 2. This film documents the Mexican-American struggle to reform an educational system that failed to properly educate Chicano students, causing more than 50 percent to drop out and leaving many others illiterate and unskilled. It focuses on the 1968 walkouts by thousands of Mexican-American high school students in East Los Angeles, which resulted in conspiracy indictments against 13 community leaders.

The final part of the four-part series, Fighting for Political Power, will be shown Monday, Oct. 9. This film discusses the creation of La Raza Unida Party as a third party force for political power and the importance of political rights. It culminates in the 1972 election and the Raza Unida convention and the fragmentation of the party at the height of its membership and recognition.

A series of Brown Bag lectures also are scheduled during Hispanic Heritage Month. The first will feature retired educator Raul Garza at noon, Wednesday, Sept. 20, in room 219B of the MSUB. Garza will talk about Hispanic Kingsville: Then and Now.

Dr. Maria Antonieta Gonzalez, a physician from Brownsville, will speak at noon Wednesday, Sept. 27, in room 219B of the MSUB. Her topic, Hispanic Folk Healing, will show how physicians are starting to combine standard medical practices with folk healing.

Dr. Lento Maez, professor and chair of bilingual education at A&M-Kingsville, will provide the third Brown Bag lecture at noon Wednesday, Oct. 4, in room 219B in the MSUB. He will speak on Immigration and Bilingual Education.

The final Brown Bag lecture will be given at noon Wednesday, Oct. 11, in room 219B of the MSUB. Dr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca, visiting scholar and lecturer in the language and literature department, will discuss Demography and Destiny.

A series of Hispanic films also will be shown throughout the month. The first is the film Lost City, which was distributed in 2005. It will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, in room 100 of the Biology Earth Sciences Building.

Lost City is set in Havana, Cuba in the late 1950s. A wealthy family, one of whose sons is a prominent nightclub owner, is caught in the violent transition from the oppressive regime of Batista to the Marxist government of Fidel Castro. The film stars and was directed by Andy Garcia.

The second film, Antonieta, will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, in room 100 of the Biology Earth Sciences Building. Antonieta, made in 1982, is based on the life of Antonieta Rivas Mercado, a Mexican writer who died inside Paris’ Notre Dame in 1931. The film recounts the Mexican history from the first 30 years of the 20 th century and it speaks about the lives of the women that ended in suicide.

The third film, Senorita Extraviada, will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, in 221AB of the MSUB. This 2001 documentary investigates the disappearance of young women from assembly plans that line the Mexican-American border. The murders first came to light in 1993.

A Day Without a Mexican will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in room 100 of the Biology Earth Sciences Building. In this 2004 film, California wakes up and not a single Latino is left in the state. They all have inexplicably disappeared. Chaos, tragedy and comedy ensue.

A series of classic Spanish language films will be shown on KTAI-TV, channel 2. They will be shown at 7 p.m. each night. Los De Abajo will be shown Tuesday, Sept. 19. Set during the Mexican Civil War, this movie tells the story of a rancher named Demetrio whose life takes a drastic turn when a local tyrant burns down his home. With nowhere to live, Demetrio joins the revolutionary forces.

The second classic film will be shown Tuesday, Sept. 26. El Ataúd del Vampiro was made in 1958 and stars German Robles as the vampire Count Lavud and Ariadna Welter as his neck-bitten partner. Fernando Mendez directed the film.

The 1943 movie, Doña Bárbara, was directed by Fernando de Fuentes and based on the novel by Rómulo Gallegos. It will air on channel 2 Tuesday, Oct. 3. It tells the story of a woman who was raped in her late teens. This experience hardens and strengthens her so that she becomes a ruthless, wealthy landowner who takes out her hostilities on the weaker male sex in her country.

The final classic film, Aguila O Sol, stars Cantinflas and Marina Tamayo. It was released in 1938. This musical comedy follows Cantinflas from an orphan to a vaudeville superstar, as he and his best friend solve all their problems.

This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month activities have several sponsors including Tejas School and Office Supply, Big House Burgers, Domino’s Pizza, HEB, Autozone, Salinas Funeral Home and McCoy’s Building Supply.

For more information on the month’s events, call 361-593-2760.

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