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Events scheduled to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept. 22, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Several events are taking place in the Kalamazoo community and at Western Michigan University in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, a national observance that runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and recognizes Hispanic culture and contributions to American society.

This year's main event will be the Kalamazoo Hispanic-American Heritage Festival from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds. Admission to the festival is free, and more information is available by calling (269) 385-6279.

The festival will feature music, folkloric dances, food, contests and a lowrider car show, along with other family- and child-friendly activities. The event is being co-sponsored by the Hispanic American Council of Kalamazoo, the WMU Division of Multicultural Affairs, and several local businesses.

Hispanic Heritage Month events taking place on the WMU campus include a performance by Orquesta Sensacional at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, on the Main Stage of the Bernhard Center's Bronco Mall and a showing of the documentary "Latinos '08" from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, in Trimpe Hall's Multicultural Center.

Orquesta Sensacional consists of musicians from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico who are living in Grand Rapids and Detroit. Its performance is being co-sponsored by the Division of Multicultural Affairs, Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority, and Student Entertainment Team. Visit orqasens.com for more information about the band.

"Latinos '08" is a Public Broadcasting Service documentary by Phillip Rodriguez that examines how today's candidates and advocacy groups are trying to mobilize and attract Latino voters. It's presentation at WMU, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a panel discussion and is being sponsored by the Division of Multicultural Affairs.

The work will air nationally Wednesday, Oct. 8, on PBS stations around the country. Compared to other voters, Latinos are twice as likely to describe themselves as independents, and in the 2004 election, Latinos split their votes almost equally between the Democratic and Republican parties.

Several specific issues will be explored in "Latinos '08." They include the likelihood that Latinos will coalesce as a voting block, the effectiveness of Latino politicians in advancing Latino interests, and whether anti-immigrant rhetoric and other factors will lead Latinos to contribute significantly to the development of a third major political party.

Other WMU events scheduled for the 2008 Hispanic Heritage Month observance will be added to the WMU events calendar as they become available. For more information, contact Miguel Ramirez in the Division of Multicultural Affairs at miguel.ramirez@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3329.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
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