Heritage Month

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Opening Ceremony and Constitution Day

Monday, Sept. 17
11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Central Courtyard

Blessing: Grupo de Danza Azteca Xinachtli


  • Dr. Lori Rodriguez - Coordinator, Center for Mexican American Studies
  • Dr. Robert Garza - President, Palo Alto College

Guest Speakers:

  • Councilman Rey Saldana, District 4
  • Adriana Abundis - SAISD Teacher of the Year, 2018 (Math, Irving Middle School)

Live Music: Los Nahuatlatos

Live Screen Printing: Snake Hawk Press

Bring a plain t-shirt or other item that you’d like to have printed with a custom design

***Free food provided.***


Artist Talk/Plática and Q&A with playwright Luis Valdez

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

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 (Farmworkers Theater), a theater troupe he founded during his organizing work with the United Farmworkers Movement, which served as a defining event of the Mexican American/Chicano Civil Rights Movement. Valdez will also speak about his work and success in mainstream media with his stage-to-film adaptation, Zoot Suit and film La Bamba.

Luis Valdez coined the term “acto”—a short play in which its performers are “in the act,” blurring line between performance and reality. Two notable examples are Los vendidos (The Sellouts, 1967) and Bernabe (1970). He founded the Centro Campesino Cultural in Del Rey, California, in 1967 and won an honorary Obie Award in 1968 for his “workers’ theater.” He wrote and produced plays including La virgen de Tepeyac, (1971), La carpa de los rasquachis (Tent Show of the Underdogs, 1974), Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution (1983) and I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges (1986). Valdez also wrote and directed two films for theatrical release: Zoot Suit (1981) and La Bamba (1987), the latter of which was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Drama.

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

***Free food provided.***



An Evening with Luis Valdez

Thursday, Sept. 20
7–8:30 p.m.

Performing Arts Center

Palo Alto College hosts a community talk/plática with renowned American playwright and “godfather of Chicano theater” Luis Valdez. Event includes community reception at 6 p.m.

National Voter Registration Day Film Screening and Student Talk/Plática
Willie Velásquez: Sú Voto es Sú Voz (Your Vote is Your Voice)
Tuesday, Sept. 25
9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (Film screening: 11 a.m.)
Student Center Annex 

Willie Velásquez: Su Voto es Su 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 of the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP) changed the Latino voting landscape in Texas and throughout the U.S.

Southwest Voter Registration Project (SVREP) is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by William C. Velásquez and is the largest and oldest non-partisan Latino voter participation organization in the United States. SVREP Executive Director Lydia Camarillo will facilitate a student plática following the film screening. On-site voter registration will also be available.

***Free food provided.***

Muralism as Community Organizing with Ernesto Cuevas Jr.

Monday, Oct. 1
11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Ozuna 101 (Legacy Room)

Artist Ernesto Cuevas, Jr. will speak about the history of muralism in Mexican/Mexican American art as well as his work as a muralist 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.

Cuevas holds a B.A. 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 and is currently a high school Art teacher at Idea South Flores. He also works as a freelance artist, designer and illustrator, focusing on projects that have a positive impact on community.

***Free food provided.***


Book Reading and Author Talk/Plática
Redeeming La Raza: Transborder Modernity, Race, Respectability, and Rights

Wednesday, Oct. 3
12:30–2 p.m.

Ozuna 101 (Legacy Room)

Redeeming La Raza: Transborder Modernity, Race, Respectability, and Rights 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.

Dr. Gabriela Gonzalez is Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she teaches courses on the US-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.

Book signing to follow talk/plática.

***Free food provided.***


Indigenous People's 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, dance/drumming circle and craft/art exhibit.

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. 

***Free food provided.***

National Coming Out Day and Poetry Open Mic

Thursday, Oct. 11
11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Student Center Annex

On this day, we honor the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Washington, D.C. on October 14, 1979 and the right to “come out” and openly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or as an ally. This event marks the 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day.In recognition of National Coming Out Day, students are invited and encouraged to share their poetic creativity to a friendly and supportive audience

This Open Mic is hosted by Elizabeth G. Rodriguez and Jomar Valentin.

Rodriguez is a queer brown woman who was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She has a Master of Arts in Woman's Studies from Texas Woman's University. She writes poems and short stories that are born from many personal experiences of generational trauma, women of color feminisms, working-class activism, resiliency, and love.

Valentin is 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. Jomar 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.

***Free food provided.***



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