Heritage Month

Opening Ceremony and Constitution Day

Monday, Sept. 17 | 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Central Courtyard

Blessing: Grupo de Danza Azteca Xinachtli


  • Dr. Robert Garza - President, Palo Alto College
  • Dr. Lori Rodriguez - Coordinator, Center for Mexican American Studies
  • Councilman Rey Saldana, District 4
  • Adriana Abundis - SAISD 2018 Teacher of the Year (Math, Irving Middle School)

Featuring live music from Los Nahuatlatos, live screen printing from Snake Hawk Press, and free food.


The Art of Activism with Luis Valdez

Renowned American playwright Luis Valdez, known as the “godfather of Chicano theater,” will speak on the theme of “the art of activism” through sharing his experiences as a Mexican American/Chicano activist and artist. Valdez will speak about his work in founding El Teatro Campesino (Farm Workers Theater), a theater troupe tied to the United Farm Workers movement — a defining event of the Mexican American/Chicano Civil Rights Movement. Valdez has worked in live theater and mainstream media, including his stage-to-film adaptation, Zoot Suit, and film La Bamba. Valdez is also one of the original organizers of the United Farm Workers Union.

Valdez is one of the original organizers of the United Farm Workers union and a founding member of the California Arts Council. He was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theater at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and he was awarded three Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards (1969, 1972, 1978) and an Emmy Award (1973). Valdez was also awarded the Presidential Medal of the Arts by President Barak Obama in September 2016.

There are two opportunities to hear from Valdez, each including time for Q&A and free food.


Student Talk/Plática

Thursday, Sept. 20 | 12:30–2 p.m.
Legacy Room (Ozuna 101)


An Evening with Luis Valdez

Thursday, Sept. 20 | 6–8:30 p.m.
Performing Arts Center Auditorium and Lobby

Community reception begins at 6 p.m., and the mainstage event begins at 7 p.m.

National Voter Registration Day

Voter Registration

Tuesday, Sept. 25 | 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Student Center Annex

Southwest Voter Registration Project (SVREP), a national nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by William C. Velásquez, will be on-site for voter registration. SVREP is the largest and oldest non-partisan Latino voter participation organization in the United States. Free food will be provided.


Film screening and Student Talk/Plática

Tuesday, Sept. 25 | 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Student Center Annex

Willie Velásquez: Sú Voto es Sú Voz (Your Vote is Your Voice) tells the story of Texas Latino voting rights activist, William C. Velásquez, who through his grassroots organizing and founding SVREP changed the Latino voting landscape in Texas and throughout the United States. Lydia Camarillo, present-day executive director of SVREP, will facilitate a discussion following the film screening. Free food will be provided

Writing to Live: The Power of Storytelling with author Ana Castillo

Thursday, Sept. 27,
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Legacy Room (Ozuna 101)

Renowned Mexican-American author Dr. Ana Castillo will speak about the craft of writing and its power for personal development and well-being. Free food will be provided.

Castillo’s work focuses on the complexities of Xicanx identity while transcending the boundaries of politics, class, and gender. Her prose blends elements of oral history and established literary tradition with innovation and experimentation. Castillo has earned numerous awards for her writing and is best known for her novel “So Far From God.”

Muralism as Community Organizing with Ernesto Cuevas Jr.

Monday, Oct. 1 | 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Legacy Room (Ozuna 101)

Artist Ernesto Cuevas Jr. will speak about the history of muralism in Mexican/Mexican American art, and discuss his work using muralism as a tool for community organizing. Cuevas will also speak about cultural themes in his individual work as a painter, educator, and graphic designer. Free food will be provided.

Cuevas holds a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from Dartmouth College. Born in the South Texas Valley to migrant farm workers, Cuevas’ journey has taken him from the fields to the ivy league. He has directed numerous community arts projects and after school arts programs. He is currently a high school art teacher at Idea South Flores. Cuevas also works as a freelance artist, designer, and illustrator focusing on projects that have a positive impact on community.


Book Reading and Author Talk/Plática

Wednesday, Oct. 3 | 12:30–2 p.m.
Legacy Room (Ozuna 101)

Redeeming La Raza: Transborder Modernity, Race, Respectability, and Rights by Dr. Gabriela Gonzalez provides an analysis of the transborder modernization of Mexico and the American Southwest during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, underscoring the impact that this modernization had in transforming the lives of ethnic Mexicans across the political divide. “Redeeming la raza” refers to saving ethnic Mexicans in Texas from a social hierarchy premised on false notions of white supremacy and Mexican inferiority. Book signing and free food will follow.

Dr. Gabriela Gonzalez is an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she teaches courses on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, Latinx history, and women’s history. She received her Ph.D. in U.S. history from Stanford University and is a Ford Foundation Diversity Fellow. She has authored several journal and book articles on transborder activism.


Indigenous Peoples Day/Día de la Raza Indigenous Ceremony and Exhibit

Monday, Oct. 8 | 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Central Courtyard

While Columbus Day traditionally honors the significance of Europeans “discovering” the Americas, Indigenous Peoples Day honors the heritage and contributions of indigenous/Native Americans who inhabited these lands long before the arrival of Europeans. The Tehuan Band of Mission Indians will provide a blessing, perform a dance and drum circle, and host crafts and an art exhibit. Free food will be provided.

The Tehuan Band of Mission Indians are the direct descendants of the San Jose Mission Indians and aim to share their culture and lived experiences through genealogy, dance, education, music, art, and community building. They strive to be an integral part of the history of San Antonio as well as a vital part of its future. 


National Coming Out Day and Poetry Open Mic

Thursday, Oct. 11 | 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Student Center Annex

In conjunction with this 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, we remember the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Washington, D.C. on October 14, 1979 to petition the right to “come out” and openly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), or as an ally. Students are invited and encouraged to share their poetic creativity to a friendly and supportive audience. Free food will be provided.

This open mic is hosted by Jomar Valenti, a queer, Pilipino spoken word artist based in Austin who was born of immigrant parents. His work has been published by The University of Texas Liberal Arts Literary Magazine, and 310 Brown St. Jomar was a member of the Austin Neo Soul National Poetry Slam team in 2009, 2010, and 2015, and a member of the Austin Poetry Slam National Poetry Slam Team in 2011, 2014 and 2016. He was the Austin Poetry Slam Champion in 2014, as well as Austin’s Individual World Poetry Slam Champion in 2014 and 2017. Jomar is the current Slam Master and Producer of Austin Poetry Slam, Austin’s longest running weekly poetry slam event. He is the first person of color as well as the first queer person to hold the position in the over two-decade history of The Austin Poetry Slam.



Palo Alto College
1400 W. Villaret
San Antonio, Texas 78224

For information, please contact us.

Phone: (210) 486-3044

Email: lrodriguez645@alamo.edu

Sponsored by: Center for Mexican American Studies, Working Writers Series Committee, Student Life, Student Activities Fee, and Teatro Palo Alto