Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month 2022 – News


In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, 2022, Illinois State University’s Latin American and Latin/a Studies (LALS) will feature presentations by authors and scholars from national fame, a national museum director, lectures and panels. with alumni, faculty and community members discussing topics related to identity.

All events are free and open to the public.

Reyna Grande, of reynagrande.com. Photo by Ara Arbabzadeh

LALS is collaborating with the City of Bloomington on their first-ever Latinx Heritage Month celebration to visit best-selling author Reyna Grande with a community talk based on her book, A ballad of love and glory. Learn about the conference and book club that Illinois State is planning around its visit.

“This year’s Latinx Heritage Month is a serious reflection on boundaries as a social construct. We seek to address the US-Mexico border, its history, and the enforcement of policies that result in widespread suffering. We also celebrate the emerging voices of the Latino/a/x experience who speak out powerfully and passionately on these issues,” said Professor Maura-Toro-Morn, Director of the University’s LALS. “The events explore history, community, culture and intergenerational knowledge. We are also excited to bring a group of Latinx alumni to campus to talk with our students about careers and professional issues.

The celebration will begin with researcher Dr. Michelle Téllez, speaking about her book, Border women and women of Maclovio Rojas: autonomy in spaces of neoliberal neglect. The month will also include talks by the 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, and community members.

Those with questions about the events can contact Lourdes Concepción Cabán at [email protected] and Toro-Morn at [email protected]

Dr. Michelle Tellez
“Borderline women and the women of Maclovio Rojas: autonomy in the spaces of neoliberal neglect”
September 26, 2022
7 p.m.
Schroeder Pavilion, room 238

Portrait of Michelle Tellez
Dr. Michelle Tellez

Dr. Michelle Téllez will tell the story of the community’s struggle to carve out a space to survive and thrive in the shadow of the US-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 borders through her research, public scholarships, and digital humanities work.

With a long history in grassroots organizing projects and community arts and performance, Téllez is the co-publisher of The Chicana M(other)work Anthology: Porque Sin Madres No Hay Revolucion (2019) and is the author of Border women and the community of Maclovio Rojas: autonomy in spaces of neoliberal neglect (2021).

Learn more about Téllez’s speech.

Conversation Between 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 Latin saying. The primary objective of this program is to develop and foster personal and institutional ties between the Latinx Alumni Association, the Latin American and Latin American Studies Program, and the Latin American Student Association ( ALAS). ISU alumni 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 Latin American and Latino Studies Program

Photo by Christina Fontenelle
Christine Fontenelle


Christina Fontenelle ’14: Christina Fontenelle is a trilingual holistic health coach and is the author of Aligning your meditation journal with yourself.

She is CEO and founder of two mental health companies, Fontenelle Art and Aligning Your Inner Self.

Erika Jimenez
Erika Jimenez

Erika Jimenez ’21: While on campus, Erika Jimenez was involved with ALAS and SABE (Bilingual Education Student Association).

She served as a preview guide for 2020-2021 and was a residential assistant at Manchester Hall for a TLLC, Teacher Education Floor for two years.

portrait of Simon Rodríguez
Simon Rodriguez Jr.

Simon Rodriguez Jr. ’13 : Son of immigrant parents from Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, and born in Aurora, Illinois, Simon Roriguez is the director of youth services for the city of Aurora.

A Fulbright scholarship recipient, Rodriguez has been involved with ALAS and Alpha Psi Lambda, and served as ISU Admissions Ambassador.

portrait of lupe garcia
Lupe Garcia
Portrait of Sonia Castañeda
Sonia Castaneda

Lupe Garcia: Garcia is the current Scholarship Chair and Community Liaison Officer 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 Castaneda ’22: Sonia Castañeda is originally from Colombia, South America, where she obtained 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 the vice principal at Dr. Maude A. Sanders Elementary School in Peoria, Illinois.

Conversando Entre Nosotros: “What’s in a label? Hispanic, Chicano/Chicana, Latina/o, Latinx, Latin or None of the above »
October 4, 2022
7 p.m.
McLean County History Museum

This panel, prepared in conjunction with the City of Bloomington, will be a conversation about the politics of labeling and how labels are deployed to build community and identity. The panel will explore the idea that a single label is not enough to understand the diversity of issues facing the community.

The event is sponsored by the Illinois State Latin American and American Studies Program and the Latin American Employees Organization (OLE) and the City of Bloomington’s Office of Human Relations.

Professor Maura Toro-Morn, Illinois State Latin American and Latino Studies Program

Dr. Rocio Rivadeneyra, Associate Dean, Illinois State College of Arts and Sciences
Lourdes Concepción-Cabán, PhD student at Illinois State
Raylene Gomez, associate 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: “Popularization of anarchist ethics: Autogestión in Mexico”
October 7, 2022 3 p.m.
Williams Hall, Room 314, ISU Campus

Self management logo

Drawing on extensive research in archives and oral history, Dr. Liv Stone of the Illinois State Department of Sociology and Anthropology will present a lecture on the principle of self management, which has come to mean 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 the student movements of Mexico City, to finally break away from its anarcho-syndicalist roots and rearticulate itself through urban Zapatism.

The Ballad of Love and Glory with Reina Grande
October 15, 2022
6-8 p.m.
Miller Park Pavilion, 1020 S. Morris Ave. in Bloomington

book cover of A Ballad of Love and Glory, A Novel, with lyrics by Reyna Grande, national bestselling author of The Distance Between Us.

Internationally acclaimed author Reyna Grande will give a Community Book talk based on her recent book, A ballad of love and gloryset during the Mexican-American War in the 1840s.

Grande is the author of the best-selling memoir, The distance between us (2012) where she writes about her life before and after arriving in the United States from Mexico as an undocumented immigrant child. Her books have been adopted as common reading selection by schools, colleges, and cities across the country.

Grande has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award and the International Latin Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards. In 2015, she received a Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature and a Latino Spirit Award in 2021. The young reader version of The distance between us received a 2017 Honor Book Award for the Americas Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature and a 2016 Eureka! Honor Awards from the California Reading Association and a 2017 International Literacy Association Children’s Book Award.

Learn more about the Grand Conference.

Lecture by the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture
October 18, 2022
7 p.m.
Williams Hall, Room 307, Illinois State University Campus

Exterior view of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture
National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture

Billy Ocasio is the current President and CEO of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture in Chicago (NMPRAC), which is dedicated to the promotion, integration and advancement of arts and culture Puerto Rican. The museum features exhibits and programming created to increase the visibility and significance of Puerto Rican’s rich artistic tradition.

Portrait of Billy Ocasio
Billy Ocasio

Prior to coming to NMPRAC, Ocasio served as a Chicago City Councilman for the 26th Ward from 1994 to 2009. He served as chairman of the Human Relations Committee and also served on the Budget and Government Operations Committees, the education, energy, environmental protection, 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 exhibition image
Exhibition Picture Hostile terrain.

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 more than 3,000 lives since the 1990s and continues to do so through law enforcement strategy on immigration known as “Prevention through Deterrence” (PTD). As a result of heightened security measures at urban entry points, undocumented migrants have been funneled into extremely treacherous environments, lands labeled “hostile terrain” by the US Border Patrol.


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