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Latino Heritage Symposium to be Held April 26

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    Donald Tetto

Event will  focus on religion and spirituality within the Latina/o community

Southwestern University will host its 7th annual Latino Heritage Symposium on Friday, April 26, from 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. in the Mood-Bridwell atrium.

The symposium, which is sponsored by the student organization Latinos Unidos, will focus on the theme of “Spirit Stories: Navigating the Intersectionalities of Identity and Religion.” Itwill include presentations by Velia Sanchez, a retired teacher who fought for bilingual education in central Texas; María Elena Martínez, another retired bilingual educator was the last chair of La Raza Unida Texas from 1974-1976; Rev. Virginia Rincon, an Episcopal pastor in Austin who has been active in fighting for immigrant rights; and Yvette Mendez, an art teacher in Austin who is both a Chicana and Native American activist.

The presenters will share their life stories and insights regarding their spiritual journeys and their work as council members of Alma de Mujer Center for Social Change in Austin. 

Group and community pláticas (discussions) will follow the presentations and will address topics including indigenous identity in religion, activism and spirituality, formation of religious/spiritual identity, and feminism/sexuality in religion.

“I hope that all those who attend have the opportunity to gain some understanding regarding their own place in religion and spirituality,” said Susana Contreras, one of several students who have helped organize the conference.

Sanchez, Martínez, Rincon and Mendez have all worked with Brenda Sendejo, assistant professor of anthropology, on her research on intergenerational activism within the Chicano/a movement.

The symposium is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Contreras at contrers@southwestern.edu.