Diversity Lecture Series Opens With Workers' Rights Activist

Monday, September 15, 2008

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, program director for the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation and advocate for social justice and workers' rights, will kick off the 2008-09 Diversity Lecture series with a talk on Wednesday, Sept. 17, in the Forum Theatre of Campion Student Center from 4-6 p.m. The series is presented by the Office of Multicultural Life.

Rodriguez has been fighting for social justice since the age of five, when she began volunteering for United Farm Workers (UFW), the labor union founded by her grandfather, Cesar E. Chavez, in 1962. Her strong beliefs in the rights of the common laborer caused her to be arrested twice before the age of 13, both for protesting alongside her family members.

Prior to her work with the Chavez Foundation, Rodriguez worked with the State of California to institute the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning. She also worked with the UFW to promote voter registration and community empowerment.

Remaining lectures in the series for the Fall 2008 semester are as follows:

Wednesday, Sept. 24: Reverend Uwem Akpan, S.J. A Nigerian-born Jesuit, Uwem Akpan is a well-known author who was published in The New Yorker's debut fiction issue in 2005 for his short story, "An Ex-mas Feast." His new book, "Say You're One of Them," has already acquired much acclaim by NPR, The Chicago Tribune, and O Magazine. Fr. Akpan received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006

Thursday, Sept. 25: Spencer Overton A law professor at George Washington University, Overton is an expert on voting rights and campaign finance law. He recently published a book entitled Stealing Democracy, which deals with the crisis in America's democracy systems. Overton is a Harvard Law grad where he served as the Charles Hamilton Houston Fellow.

Wednesday, Oct. 22: Tim Wise A renowned anti-racist activist and writer, Tim Wise has spoken in 40 states and on over 400 college campuses. Wise is the author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White, as well as numerous essays on race.

Wednesday, Nov. 12: Lawson Inada Asian-American author and artist Lawson Inada is considered by many to be the father of Asian-American literature. He is a celebrated poet, having received a number of National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowships. He is the author of Before the War, Legends from Camp, and Drawing the Line.

Wednesday, Dec. 3: The Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale Consisting of over 100 members, The Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale recently finished their first tour to Mexico and won against the Moscow Boys Choir in a battle of the bands. Since 1968, the Choir and Chorale has traveled more than two million miles bringing their music around the world.

--Maureen Catalano '09

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