A series of talks, performances, and lectures will help celebrate Latinx Heritage Month at Illinois State University, highlighted with a keynote lecture on “Latinx: Queer Brown Voices” on October 30, and the Hispanic Heritage Fair on October 10.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

September 25

“The Sovereign Colony: How the Olympic Movement helps us understand Puerto Rico”
7 p.m. Schroeder Hall, room 130

Antonio Sotomayor standing in front of a bookshelf

Antonio Sotomayor

Antonio Sotomayor, associate professor and librarian of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, will present a talk based on his book The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico (University of Nebraska Press, 2016). The book documents the often-surprising process by which Puerto Ricans managed to become an Olympic nation despite not having political sovereignty. Sotomayor will contextualize current events in Puerto Rico including the political, economic, and social crises since the book’s publication in 2016.

Sponsors: Latin American and Latino/a Studies, Milner Library

September 27

headshot of Alfredo Alfredo Mirandé

Alfredo Mirandé

Conversando Entre Nosotros Lecture: “Gringo Injustice: Insider Perspectives on Police, Gangs, and Law”
Noon, Williams Hall, room 314

Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Ethnic Studies Alfredo Mirandé from the University of California, Riverside, will present a talk on the recent mass shooting of 22 innocent people in El Paso, Texas, and how it is part of a long, bloody history of anti-Latinx violence in the United States. Gringo Injustice brings history to life, exploring the complex relationship between Latinos and the legal and judicial system in the 21st century. Professor Mirandé is an Illinois State College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame honoree, and the author of Gringo Injustice: Insider Perspectives on Police, Gangs, and Law.

October 3
Conversando Entre Nosotros Lecture Series: “Defending Asylum”
3 p.m. Center for the Visual Arts, room 145

Illinois State’s Associate Professor of History Patrice Olsen, History Department, will explore the process of applying for asylum, debunking many of the myths. She will also examine challenges to the right to asylum at present.

Sponsors: Latin American and Latino/a Studies and OLE

October 4-October 12
Play: La Casa de Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca
Directed by Robert Quinlan
October 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 at 7:30 p.m.
October 6 at 2 p.m.
Illinois State University Westhoff Theatre

La Casa de Bernarda Alba takes place in a small village in southern Spain following the funeral of Bernarda Alba’s second husband. After the mourners depart, the tyrannical matriarch announces to her five daughters that their period of mourning will last eight years. Obsessed with family honor, Bernarda rules the household with an iron fist, but all of her daughters secretly harbor a passion for Pepe el Romano, the handsomest man in the village. The eldest daughter is engaged to him, but the arrangement is a financial one, and it is the youngest daughter, Adela, who becomes his lover. When the truth finally breaks through the atmosphere of suppressed desire, jealousy, anger and fear, the consequences are tragic. Ticket information is available here: https://finearts.illinoisstate.edu/tickets/.

Sponsors: School of Theatre and Dance, Latin American and Latino/a Studies 

October 4
Conversando Entre Nosotros Lecture: “My Latinx Experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica”
3 p.m. Williams Hall, room 314

Jose Molina, an ACED Fellow from Illinois State’s Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development will give a talk about experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica in 2017-2019.

Sponsored by the Latin American and Latino/a Studies, Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development

October 8
Conversando Entre Nosotros Lecture: “Atenco Lives!: Filmmaking and Popular Struggle in Mexico”
5:30-7 p.m. Williams Hall, room 314

woman wearing hat

Liv Stone in Atenco

In her book, Atenco Lives! Filmmaking and Popular Struggle in Mexico, Associate Professor of Anthropology Liv Stone examines how the production and sharing of documentaries became an important part of the story for the People’s Front in Defense of Land of Atenco (also known as the Frente). Her talk will explore how documentaries exposed the brutalities of the government crackdown in Atenco.

October 10
Hispanic Heritage Fair
4-8 p.m. Brown Ballroom, Bone Student Center

The Hispanic Heritage Fair provides participants from Illinois State and the Bloomington-Normal community with a unique exposition, featuring the rich and diverse cultures and contributions of residents native of or descended from the Spanish-speaking nations of Spain and North, Central, South America, and the Caribbean. This year’s fair will feature the Mariachis Compiranos, Venuzuelan singer Orlando Russo, Gruopo Frontera, Lucero Flamenco, and DJ Lex.

October 30
Keynote Lecture: “Latinx: Queer Brown Voices”
7 p.m. Schroeder Hall, room 130

headsot of Salvador Vidal-Ortiz

Salvador Vidal-Ortiz

Salvador Vidal-Ortiz of American University will address how the term Latinx has become a source of contention, like Latino once was. An associate professor of sociology, Vidal-Ortiz will discuss how the articulation of Latina/o/x populations through the term Latinx becomes a source of possibilities. Focusing on queer Latinx identities, the lecture addresses the logics of inclusion from activist on the x for LGBTQ+ and non-gendered purposes. Vidal-Ortiz’s scholarship cuts across racialization, sexuality, gender, migration, and religion, and is interdisciplinary. He coedited two award winning books, The Sexuality of Migration, and Queer Brown Voices.

Sponsors by the LGBTQ Institute, LALS, and OLE

November 2
Día de los Muertos – Cultural Presentation Day of the Dead
6-9 p.m., Circus Room and Old Main Room, Bone Student Center

El Día de los Muertos – The Day of The Dead – is a holiday to honor and celebrate loved ones who have died.

November 4
University Housing Services Cultural Dinner
5 p.m., Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center

Soledad O'Brien Head Shot

Soledad O’Brien

Award-winning journalist, speaker, author, and philanthropist Soledad O’Brien will be the keynote speaker at the Latino Cultural Dinner. Ticket information is available here. O’Brien was named journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists and one of Newsweek magazine’s “10 People who Make America Great.” In 2013, O’Brien taught at Harvard University as a Distinguished Fellow and was appointed to the board of directors of the Foundation for the National Archives. In 2015, O’Brien joined the RAND Corporation’s Board of Trustees. In 2011 O’Brien and her husband Brad Raymond created the PowHERful Foundation, which helps young women get to and through college.

Sponsors: Hewett-Manchester Students Associations, Hewett-Manchester Diversity Coalition, Association of Residence Halls, Cardinal Court Council, Event Management, Dining and Hospitality, and Latin American and Latino/a Studies   

November 20
Where You From? What You Be About?
7 p.m., Westhoff Theatre

Illinois State alumnus and Broadway actor Eric Aviles will give a performance of his celebrated solo play set in the historically Puerto Rican neighborhood of Humboldt Park, Chicago. Seamlessly moving from the past to present, Where You From? What You Be About? tells a story of how one man and his family reconcile the influences and subsequent death of a family member due to gun and gang violence. A cousin’s funeral becomes the catalyst for confronting a buried truth, for facing the effects of growing up surrounded by poverty, violence, and the need for healing. This transformational coming of age journey is an interdisciplinary solo play that includes spoken word, video projections, and a live DJ.

Sponsored by Multi-Ethnic Cultural and Co-Curricular Programming and Advisory Committee (MECCPAC), Association of Latin American Students (ALAS), School of Theatre and Dance, and Latin American and Latino/a Studies

Find out more about the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program.