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Semana de la Raza celebrates Hispanic culture

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Portland Community College’s annual celebration of Hispanic culture is set to start Monday, April 23 with a week-long schedule of workshops, speakers and entertainment.

With the theme, “Unidos tenemos el poder,” or “United we have the power,” Semana de la Raza is set for the Rock Creek Campus (17705 N.W. Springville Road) from April 23-27, aiming to teach, inform, entertain and celebrate the Latino community. Unless noted, all events are free and open to the public. All events will be held at the Event Center, Building 9.

Official artwork depicting Hispanic leadership for this year's Semana de la Raza by student Alejandra Dominguez.

Official artwork depicting Hispanic leadership for this year's Semana de la Raza by student Alejandra Dominguez.

2012 Semana de la Raza highlights include:

Citizens United: Collaborating for a better tomorrow with Luis Gutierrez

Luis Gutierrez is the founder and executive director for Latinos Progresando, a Chicago based advocacy group that provides low-cost legal immigration services and community education to immigrants. In 2005, Gutierrez was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the city of Chicago in recognition of his service to the local community as a nonprofit leader. The event is from 1-2 p.m., Monday, April 23.

United We Stand: Organizing for action with Randy Parraz                                                                   

Randy Parraz, president of “Citizens for a Better Arizona” and a graduate of Harvard University as well as UC-Berkley’s law school, is an attorney and former candidate for the United States Senate in Arizona. His workshop will examine the question of immigration from a critical lens and dissect the effect the battle in Arizona is having on a national level. The event is set for 2-3 p.m., Monday, April 23.

Migrant Collection Drive

Event organizers, students and the public will participate in a collection drive for local migrant and seasonal workers. The volunteers will accept donations at the Rock Creek Campus throughout the week. The drive starts Tuesday, April 24.

Poetry Night with Octaviano Merecias-Cuevas

Local poet Octaviano Merecias-Cuevas will read his poetry, answer questions from the audience during a Q&A and provide an open-microphone session for the audience to participate. Merecias-Cuevas is a trilingual Miztec poet who was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and holds a master’s degree in Contemporary Hispanic Studies from The School of Language, Culture and Society at Oregon State University. He currently serves as a faculty member for Oregon State University Extension Services working with at-risk youth. Poetry night is set for 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 25.

Thursday, April 26 Workshops

Led by Rock Creek student leaders, panel discussions include: “Out of the Shadows” workshop will discuss the issues faced by undocumented students in the Rock Creek community from 10-11 a.m.; “The DREAM Act” discussion from 11 a.m. to noon; “Latino Immigrant Rights, Policies, and Grassroots Organizing” from noon to 1 p.m. and “Cuba: The Next Revolution” film showing from 2-3:45 p.m.

Cesar Chavez Recognition & Fiesta

The Cesar Chavez Recognition dinner is a time for the Rock Creek community to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of its members. This will include the presentation of the Cesar Chavez Distinguished Service Awards, celebration of the essay contest winner and a screening of the documentary film “Recognizing Latino Success,” by Alan Beccera. DJ Chicano (Roberto Solis Jr.) will provide the music. The dinner is 7-9:30 p.m., Friday, April 27.

Semana de la Raza is sponsored by PCC’s Multicultural Programming Committee–Rock Creek, Multicultural Center, the college’s student government (ASPCC), College Assistance for Migrants Program, Student Clubs & Dean of Students Office, and Utrecht and Blick art supplies.

Questions? Contact Lida Rafia, Rock Creek Multicultural Center coordinator, at (971) 722-7279, or

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »


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