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Latin American & Latino Studies Program @UIC Celebrates 40th Anniversary

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Danny Solis, Alderman, 25th Ward, City of Chicago
Danny Solis, Alderman, 25th Ward, City of Chicago

Last night, the Latin American & Latino Studies (LALS) Program at UIC celebrated 40 years of academic achievement and community advocacy. None of this would have been possible without the student activism that took place in the early 1970’s throughout high schools and university campuses across the United States. Over 200 people, activists, founders, alumni, administrators, faculty and community came together to celebrate the past and talk about the future. The struggle that it took to create the Latin American & Latino Studies program at UIC is a struggle that built bridges among different ethnic and community groups and continues to prevail.

Amalia Palleres, Marta Ayala, Bruce Tyler and Dolores Ponce de León led the planning committee, which included Leonard Ramírez, Nora Bonnin, Teresa Cordova, Mario Lucero, Jennifer Juarez, José E. López and Alejandro Luis Molina, among others.
Last nights event, a fundraiser for the newly established LALS Student Scholarship Fund at the National Museum of Mexican Art with title “From Vision to Legacy” featured presentations on the history and future vision of LALS.
Mary Kay Vaughn, the evening’s keynote speaker, delivered a concise, powerful summary of the events and personalities leading up to the founding of LALS, which drew repeated applause. Leonard Ramírez, Carlos Heredia, Matt Rodríguez, Ric Estrada and José E. López all spoke to the bridge that had been built between community and academy through the struggle to found LALS. Oscar López Rivera, the Puerto Rican political prisoner who will start his 34th year of federal imprisonment early next year, was mentioned as a key organizer by many of the speakers.
The Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Roberto Clemente Community Academy and Que Ondee Sola Magazine were among the sponsors of the anniversary series and will host an event in Humboldt Park on November 14th at our National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. Visit http://lals.uic.edu/40years for more info.

Virtual Fiesta Boricua 2020

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