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Events celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept. 18, 2006

KALAMAZOO--A full slate of events will take place at Western Michigan University in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, a national observance that runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 14 and recognizes Hispanic culture and contributions to American society.

The events are being held over three months and being sponsored by the Division of Multicultural Affairs and several other WMU departments and organizations. Most are taking place in the Multicultural Center, located on the main campus in Room 1110 of the Trimpe Building.

The main event will be a presentation by award-winning author Edgardo Rodriguez Julia, Puerto Rico's national writer, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16. The presentation, which is being co-sponsored by the DMA and Department of Spanish, will feature Julia reading from his works and Dr. Benjamin Torres, WMU associate professor of Spanish, providing the English translation. A discussion will follow the reading.

Julia is a professor emeritus of literature at the University of Puerto Rico and will remain on campus Oct. 17 and 18 through WMU's 2006-07 Visiting Scholars and Artists Program. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he has written six novels, a collection of short stories, and a dozen books of chronicles and essays. Several of his works have been translated into English and French.

WMU began its Hispanic Heritage Month events Sept. 13 with the Student Entertainment Team and DMA sponsoring a performance by Salvador Torrez's Mariachi 2000 band.

Hispanic Heritage Month Events

Wednesday, Sept. 20--There will be a portrait presentation and reception from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Multicultural Center. An original portrait of Cesar Chavez painted by local artist Jerry Diment will be presented to the DMA for display in the center. Making the presentation will be Juan Muniz, chairperson of the Southwest Michigan Cesar Chavez Day Committee, which is providing the portrait as a gift.

Thursday, Oct. 5--Hispanic Awareness Day will be observed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 157 of the Bernhard Center. The DMA will celebrate the day by presenting various Kalamazoo-area speakers, who will share the Latino point of view regarding the importance of higher education, leadership development, political and economic empowerment, and career selection.

Saturday, Oct. 14--Latino alumni with gather from 10 a.m. to noon in Room 204 of the Bernhard Center as part of the WMU Alumni Association's Homecoming activities. The DMA and Alumni Association invite Latino alumni and their families and friends from across the country to meet and reminisce with other WMU Alumni during this event.

Monday, Oct. 16--Award-winning author Edgardo Rodriguez Julia, Puerto Rico's national writer, will read from his work from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Multicultural Center. Dr. Benjamin Torres, WMU associate professor of Spanish, will provide the English translation. A discussion will follow the reading.

Thursday, Nov. 2--The Day of the Dead, also called All Saints Day, will be celebrated by the Department of Spanish and DMA from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Multicultural Center. The Day of the Dead is one of the oldest traditions of the Hispanic world and has become an important Mexican holiday, with families using religious rituals to remember their deceased loved ones and the continuity of life.

A Latin American Horror Film Festival will be staged in the Multicultural Center at the end of October by the Department of Spanish. All three films in the series have English subtitles and contain scenes that some people may find objectionable due to language and violent or sexual content.

Thursday, Oct. 26--"Cabeza de Vaca" will be shown at 10 a.m. This 1992 Spanish film incorporates mysticism and spiritual rebirth while tracing a shipwrecked conquistador's eight-year journey from Florida to Mexico's Pacific coast.

Monday, Oct. 30--"Memorias del Angel Caido" will be shown at noon. Also from Spain, this 1998 movie revolves around the poisoning of worshipers after they take communion and the strange visions the priests who participated in the communion ceremony suffer as the police investigate the worshipers' deaths.

Tuesday, Oct. 31--"Los Ninos Invisibles" will be shown at 3 p.m. This magical childhood drama, which won Best Colombian Film honors at the 2001 Bogota Film Festival, is set in the 1950s and recounts the adventures of young Rafael and his two best friends.

For more information about Hispanic Heritage Day events, contact Miguel Ramirez, assistant director of multicultural affairs, at miguel.ramirez@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3329.

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

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