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Eastern Set to Observe Latin American Awareness Month

Written by Este Yarmosh


Spanish Harlem Orchestra.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will celebrate Latin American Awareness Month in April with several events, including an evening of Latin American storytelling and food tasting, a performance by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and a drama production titled "Plantanos and Collard Greens."  The public is invited.  Admission is free for all events except the presentation by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Tickets to the Spanish Harlem Orchestra performance are $10 for the general public and can be reserved at (860) 465-0036 or at  For more information about the orchestra, visit 

            The Spanish Harlem Orchestra will perform on April 2 at 7 p.m. in Shafer Auditorium.  The orchestra's visit is sponsored by Eastern's Arts and Lectures Series committee.

            On April 7, a Latin American storytelling and food tasting event will take place in the Intercultural Center at 6 p.m.  Latin American students, faculty and staff will relate stories from their personal lives.  President Nuñez will be one of the featured storytellers. 

            On April 9 at 4 p.m. in the Student Center Café, performance artist Maria Aponte will present "Lagrimas De Mis Madres" and "I Will Not be Silenced."  She will be accompanied by percussionist Cacho Ramirez.   "I Will Not be Silenced" is based on Sor Juna Ines de la Cruz, a nun from 17th century Mexico who wrote poetry and musical compositions and who also spoke out on the need for women's education.

            At noon, on April 22 in the President's Dining Room in Hurley Hall, Carlos Ojeda will conduct a teaching excellence seminar.  Ojeda will share methods designed to involve and inspire Latino students.  At 3 p.m., Ojeda will host a student forum in the Student Center Theatre featuring the topic, "My Friends Called Me Chu," an engaging and emotional story of one student's journey through life, loss and his experience in the urban educational system.  It begins with the student being "just another statistic" on the streets of Newark, NJ, and depicts the student later becoming a published poet, educator, speaker and entrepreneur. 

            At 6 p.m., on April 22, Eastern will present its Latin American Distinguished Service Awards in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.  These awards recognize members of the campus and community-at-large whose actions demonstrate distinguished service to the Latino community.  Ojeda will deliver the keynote address, and the Gaza Latin Band will provide music.      

              On April 27, Eastern's Intercultural Center and chapter of the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) will present "Plantanos and Collard Greens," a drama production that has successfully played in New York and to universities around the nation.  It is about an African American man named Freeman and a Latino woman named Angelita who fall in love and deal with racial and cultural prejudices, including those of their family and friends; all the while striving to maintain their love in the face of these obstacles.  (Location and time TBA)

            On April 28 at 11 a.m., the Intercultural Center and Campus Activity Board (CAB) will sponsor a Latin American Cultural Fair on the Student Center Patio.  The fair is an Island Fest with a Latin American theme, featuring Latin American food and live Latin entertainment. 


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