Changes in education demographics, student empowerment and women’s rights are some of the topics to be discussed at Lone Star College-Kingwood’s third annual Dia de la Cultura celebration on Sept. 27. This event is planned by the college’s Office of Student Life.
Dr. José Angel Gutiérrez, an activist since the 1960s, plans to discuss those issues as well as the education of Latinos in terms of their own self-empowerment and the potential crisis for mainstream America in his presentation, “We Are the Future: Political Education of Raza in the 21st Century” at 7 p.m. in LSC-Kingwood’s Student-Conference Center.
“I hope our speaker will be a beacon, better yet a lightning rod, who inspires students, especially our grossly underrepresented minority subgroups, that only through education can they bring about not only their self-empowerment, but also how education has the potential of affecting and unleashing societal-political change in creating a more inclusive America that will benefit all,” said Dr. Raúl Reyes, history professor.
Gutiérrez will have much to say on the impact of Latinos and their increasingly important role as major players in America’s future. He will provide detailed demographic maps and figures to illustrate the current and future growth of this important demographic group.
“I also hold the sincere desire that faculty and community attendees will come to the realization that given the demographic projections, especially in the greater Houston area not to mention the similar demographic trends across our great nation, that non-Latinos will proactively address what will be either a great opportunity or continue with the policy of ignoring the statistics eventuating in a major crisis for all Americans that could’ve been averted,” Reyes said.
Gutiérrez was active during the Chicano movement and founder and co-founder of several organizations such as the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) and the Mexican American Unity Council (MAUC) and the La Raza Unida Party among others. He is noted in many history and political science books for his activism. He founded the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) at the University of Texas at Arlington in 1994 and is now a professor of political science at that college and a practicing lawyer, published author, and international speaker.
Lone Star College-Kingwood’s Dia de la Cultura celebration started three years ago as a way to reach out the Hispanic community. Today, this open-house type event brings awareness to the diversity of backgrounds and cultures that represent the student body.
“The purpose of Dia de la Cultura is to recognize and celebrate the history, culture, traditions, and contributions of Latinos in the United States,” said Kristen Wilkes, intercultural program coordinator at LSC-Kingwood. “We hope by putting on this event each year that students, faculty, and staff will enhance their understanding of the Hispanic culture and the importance of our Latino community right here at LSC-Kingwood. “
Dia de la Cultura is celebrated during Hispanic Heritage month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, in which seven countries celebrate its independence: Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Prior to Gutiérrez’s presentation, the Office of Student Life invites students, faculty, staff and the community to participate and sample in a variety of Hispanic food and culture at 11 a.m.
For more information on Dia de la Cultura or the day’s events, contact the Intercultural Center at 281-312-1791 or Kristen.Wilkes@LoneStar.edu.
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With 75,000 students in credit classes and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, five centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.