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BGSU hosts Latino issues conference, book reading

By Kevin Milliken, La Prensa Correspondent


Bowling Green State University hosted its 21st annual Latino Issues Conference at its Student Union on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014.


The day-long event featured a town hall meeting for the community to engage in a dialogue about immigration featuring a panel from both sides of the complex issue. The conference theme this year was: “A Community at a Crossroads: The Intersections of Immigration and Identity.”

Moises Serrano


The keynote luncheon speaker was Latino immigrant and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activist Moises Serrano. He spoke about his journey as an undocumented student and as a member of the LGBT community. Follow Moises at:  https://www.facebook.com/moises.serrano.56


The annual conference is sponsored by BGSU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and Latino Student Union.


The conference began with a Latino Community and Cultural Festival, 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the Student Union. The conference luncheon took place in the Grand Ballroom, noon to 1:30 p.m., followed by a town hall meeting/discussion from 2 to 4 p.m. The conference culminated with a Latino baile, 6 to 8 p.m.


The night before, a pair of BGSU professors read from their recent works in both English and Spanish. Their recent publications involve Latin American and Latino/a issues.


Dr. Valeria Grinberg Pla read from “Eva Perón: Cuerpo, genero, nación,” from Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica starting at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 22, at Café Havana, in Bowling Green.


Dr. Susana Peña read from “Oye Loca!: From the Mariel Boatlift to Gay Cuban Miami” immediately following the first reading. The bilingual presentations included a discussion with the authors.


Her book focuses on Cuban-American gay male culture in Miami, Florida. The book won honorable mention for Outstanding Book in Latino Studies by the Latino Studies Section of Latin American Studies Association and was named as a finalist by Lambda Literary Awards in LBGT Studies category earlier this year.


“I have presented my research on this topic before at places like Rutgers University, Oberlin College, and University of California, San Diego, for example,” said Dr. Peña.  “Since my book has been published, I haven¹t presented it at BGSU or in Bowling Green.  This event gives me an opportunity to share my finished work with that community.” 


She sees the coffeehouse event as an extension of the classroom.


“As university faculty, we teach but we also research, write, and present our scholarship,” said Dr. Peña. “I think it is important for students to see that their teachers are also published authors and that we engage in debates beyond campus.  Also, I like to tell students about how the study was conducted, what my challenges were, et cetera.  I want them to be able to imagine themselves being researchers and writing a book.”


Dr. Peña’s text was written in English, so she will read in English and provide commentary in Spanish.  Dr. Grinberg Pla’s book was written in Spanish, so she will read from the original, and a graduate student will read the English translation. 

Copyright © 1989 to 2014 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/28/14 19:52:35 -0800.




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