Heritage month welcomes speakers

As part of a series of events commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month, El Cento Latino has invited two influential figures in the local Latin community to come speak at Bellevue College. On Oct. 11, Magdaleno Rose-Avila will be speaking at 11:30 a.m. and Dr. Luis Fraga on the 18th at 11:30 a.m. Both events will be held in N-201. Rose-Avila will consider “Young Latinos Forging the Future Through Education,” while Fraga will elaborate on “Change and Continuity: Latinos and the Future of America.”

On Sept. 4, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted Rose-Avila to be director of the recently endowed Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. On Seattle City Council’s page on Seattle.gov, OIRA describes its charge, which addresses the need to overcome the barriers created by linguistic and cultural diversity in the Seattle area: “OIRA will centralize the thinking around services such as job training, citizenship, education and small businesses.” As the son of immigrants, Rose-Avila developed an interest in promoting worker’s right at an early age; he began working on onion fields in Colorado at the age of 11. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, he worked with Cesar Chavez as lead organizer of the United Farm Workers Union. He has also served as a director in the Peace Corps and Amnesty International, as well as teaching sociology and theatre at the University of Colorado.

Fraga is a political science professor at the University of Washington, as well as a published writer in several political science periodicals. He is also associate provost for faculty advancement at UW (a provost is a senior administrator). In October 2011, Fraga was included in Hispanic Business Magazine’s list of “100 Influentials” who have “promoted the advancement of Hispanics in the United States by their leadership, community involvement or professional achievements” according to the magazine.

Andrea Torres, a member of El Centro Latino commented on the choice of speakers, saying “We decided on them because they are big influences in the Latino community. They provide a central voice to the community, which is something that is often lacking in our community.” Angelie Mendoza, Vice-President of El Centro, added “Rose-Avila’s work for the mayor as Director of Immigration Affairs is really influential.”

Gabriela Gonzalez, director of El Centro, has taken the time to help promote the other events being realized around campus during October. On October 10th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a “tour of Latin America” in the cafeteria. Alongside food and music, there will be tables set up with information displays about the cultures of various Latin nations. On Oct. 16 there will be an art gala in C-120 from 11:30 a.m to 2 p.m. Art from Latino students will be displayed, but there is much more to this event. “There will be poems, paintings, music, and of course food, which is art in our culture” said Gonzalez. “But we want to encourage all BC students to come to this event and create their own art; we really want to extend this open invitation to all of our events.”

Students are encouraged to check out the El Centro Facebook page under the name ‘Bellevue College El Centro Latino.’ Check out the BC homepage for more details regarding planned events.