March 28, 2023

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, which runs from September 15-October 15, 2022, Illinois State University’s Latin American and Latino/a Studies (LALS) will feature talks from nationally known authors and scholars, a national museum director, and lectures and panels with alumni, faculty, and community members discussing topics surrounding identity.  
All events are free and open to the public. 
LALS is collaborating with the City of Bloomington in their first-ever Latinx Heritage Month celebration for a visit from best-selling author Reyna Grande with a community talk based on her book, A Ballad of Love and Glory. Find out more about the talk and the book club Illinois State is planning around her visit.
“This year’s Latinx Heritage Month is a serious reflection about borders as a social construct. We seek to address the U.S./Mexico border, its history, and the enforcement of policies that result in widespread suffering. We are also celebrating emerging voices of the Latino/a/x experience that are speaking forcefully and passionately about those issues,” said Professor Maura-Toro-Morn, director of the University’s LALS. “The events explore history, community, and culture and cross-generational knowledge. We are also excited to bring to campus a group of Latinx alumni to chat with our students about careers and professional issues.”
The celebration will launch with scholar Dr. Michelle Téllez, talking about her book, Border Women and the Women of Maclovio Rojas: Autonomy in the Spaces of Neoliberal Neglect. The month will also feature lectures by Director of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture Billy Ocasio, and Dr. Liv Stone. A series of Conversando Entre Nosotros throughout the month will feature alumni, Illinois State faculty members, and community members.  
Those with questions about the events can contact Lourdes Concepción Cabán at and Toro-Morn at

Dr. Michelle Téllez  
“Border Women and the Women of Maclovio Rojas: Autonomy in the Spaces of Neoliberal Neglect”  
September 26, 2022 
7 p.m.  
Schroeder Hall, room 238 
Dr. Michelle Téllez will tell the story of the community’s struggle to carve out space for survival and thrive in the shadows of the U.S.-Mexico geopolitical border. Téllez is an associate professor in the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona. She focuses on transnational community formations, mothering, and gendered migration along the U.S./Mexico borderlands through her research, public scholarship, and digital humanities work.  
With a long history in grassroots organizing projects and community-based arts and performance, Téllez is the co-editor of The Chicana M(other)work Anthology: Porque Sin Madres No Hay Revolución (2019) and is the author of Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas: Autonomy in the Spaces of Neoliberal Neglect (2021). 
Find out more about Téllez’s talk.
Conversando Entre Nosotros 
A gathering with Latinx Alumni Network (LAN) 
September 30, 2022 
6-8 p.m.  
Multicultural Center, ISU Campus  
“En la union está la fuerza” is a popular Latino saying. The major objective of this program is to develop and foster the personal and institutional connections between the Latinx Alumni Association, the Latin American and Latina/o Studies program and the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS). ISU alums will share career opportunities, community leadership roles, and offer strategies for success beyond college.   
Professor Rocio Rivadeneyra, Illinois State’s College of Arts and Sciences 
Professor Maura Toro-Morn, Illinois State’s Latin American and Latino/a Studies program 
Christina Fontenelle ’14: Christina Fontenelle is a tri-lingual holistic health coach and is the author of Aligning Your Inner Self Meditation Journal.
She is the CEO and founder of two mental health companies, Fontenelle Art and Aligning Your Inner Self. 
Erika Jimenez ’21: During her time on campus, Erika Jimenez was involved in ALAS and SABE (Student Association of Bilingual Education).
She served as a Preview Guide for 2020-2021, and was a residential assistant in Manchester Hall for a TLLC, Teacher Education Floor for two years. 
Simon Rodriguez Jr. ’13 : The son of immigrant parents from Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, and born in Aurora, Illinois, Simon Roriguez serves as the Youth Services Manager for the City of Aurora.
A Fulbright scholarship recipient, Rodriguez was involved with ALAS and Alpha Psi Lambda, and served as an admissions ambassador while at ISU. 
Lupe Garcia: Garcia is the current scholarship chair and community liaison for LAN and works for Heartland Bank. While at ISU, Garcia participated in ALAS, was a residential assistant, and a member of Alpha Psi Lambda. 
Sonia Castañeda ’22: Sonia Castañeda is from Colombia, South America, where she received her bachelor’s degree in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), and also taught in her home country for a few years. She is assistant principal at Dr. Maude A. Sanders Primary School in Peoria, Illinois. 

Conversando Entre Nosotros: “What’s in a Label? Hispanic, Chicano/ Chicana, Latina/o, Latinx, Latine, or None of the Above”   
October 4, 2022  
7 p.m.  
McLean County Museum of History   
This panel, prepared in collaboration with the City of Bloomington, will be a conversation about the politics of labeling and how labels are deployed to construct community and identity. The panel will explore the idea that one label is not enough to understand the diversity of issues the community faces.  
The event is sponsored by Illinois State’s Latin American and Latino Studies program and the Organization of Latin American Employees (OLE), and the City of Bloomington’s Human Relations Office. 
Professor Maura Toro-Morn, Illinois State’s Latin American and Latino/a Studies program  
Dr. Rocio Rivadeneyra, associate dean at Illinois State’s College of Arts and Sciences  
Lourdes Concepción-Cabán, doctoral student at Illinois State  
Raylene Gomez, assistant director of Diversity and Inclusion at Illinois Wesleyan University   
Janeth Montenegro-Marquez, graduate student at Illinois State   
Dr. Alejandro Enriquez, associate professor at Illinois State   
Conversando Entre Nosotros: “Popularizing Anarchist Ethics: Autogestión in Mexico City”  
October 7, 2022  3 p.m.  
Williams Hall, room 314, ISU campus    
Utilizing extensive archival and oral history research, Dr. Liv Stone of Illinois State’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology will present a lecture on the principle of autogestión, which has come to signify an ethical practice of non-hierarchical organization and anti-capitalist self-determination in Mexico City. Born in Algeria in the 1960s, the principle was popularized and transformed through the punk scene and student movements in Mexico City, and finally came to be detached from its anarcho-syndicalist roots and re-articulated through urban Zapatismo.  
The Ballad of Love and Glory with Reyna Grande  
October 15, 2022 
6-8 p.m.  
Miller Park Pavilion, 1020 S. Morris Ave. in Bloomington 
Internationally acclaimed author Reyna Grande will give a Community Book Lecture based on her recent book, A Ballad of Love and Glory, set during the Mexican American War in the 1840s. 
Grande is the author of the bestselling memoir, The Distance Between Us, (2012) where she writes about her life before and after she arrived in the United States from Mexico as an undocumented child immigrant. Her books have been adopted as the common reading selection by schools, colleges, and cities across the country. 
Grande has been honored with an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the International Latino Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards. In 2015 she was honored with a Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature and a Latino Spirit Award in 2021. The young reader’s version of The Distance Between Us received a 2017 Honor Book Award for the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature and a 2016 Eureka! Honor Awards from the California Reading Association, and an International Literacy Association Children’s Book Award 2017. 
Find out more about the Grande talk. 
National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture lecture 
October 18, 2022 
7 p.m.  
Williams Hall, room 307, Illinois State University campus 
Billy Ocasio is the current president and chief executive officer of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture in Chicago (NMPRAC), which is devoted to the promotion, integration, and advancement of Puerto Rican arts and culture. The museum presents exhibitions and programming created to enhance the visibility and importance of the rich Puerto Rican arts tradition.  
Before arriving at the NMPRAC, Ocasio served as the City of Chicago alderman from the 26th ward from 1994-2009. He was the chairman of the Human Relations Committee, and also served on committees for budget and government operations, education, energy, environmental protection, public utilities, finance and housing/real estate. 
Hostile Terrain art exhibition   
November 1-4, 2022  
Art Gallery at Julian Hall, room 97, Illinois State University campus 
Hostile Terrain is a participatory art exhibition organized by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP). The exhibit aims to illuminate the humanitarian crisis occurring at the United States’ border, a crisis that has claimed over 3,000 lives since the 1990s and continues to do so through the immigration enforcement strategy known as “Prevention Through Deterrence” (PTD). As a result of heightened security measures at urban points of entry, undocumented migrants were funneled through extremely treacherous environments, land dubbed as “Hostile Terrain” by U.S. Border Patrol. 


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