The University of Kansas Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, in partnership with the the Tonantzin Society of Topeka, the Lawrence Public Library, and the KU Libraries, is pleased to announce that it has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and American Library Association (ALA) to produce public programming in Topeka and Lawrence inspired by the 2013 PBS documentary Latino Americans. Titled 500 Years of Latin@ Americanidad in the Heartland, the project will unfold in Topeka and Lawrence during the month of April 2016. Among the key events will be a workshop for teachers designed to bring the history and experience of Latinos and Latinas in Kansas and the United States into the classroom. It will feature Christina Valdivia-Alcala (Tonantzin Society), Ben Chappell (KU), and Yolanda Broyles-González (Kansas State). Other events will include screenings of three of the Latino Americans episodes with discussions led by professors Santa Arias (KU), Rubén Flores (KU), and Norma Cantú (UMKC), and public lectures by professors Yajaira Padilla (University of Arkansas) and Jeanette Rodriguez (Seattle University). In conjunction with these activities, Betsaida Reyes, KU’s librarian for Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, will curate the University’s first exhibition on Latina/o history.
The events will highlight the contributions of women and the importance of religion in Kansas Latina/o communities, with particular focus on the figure of the Virgin of Guadalupe. All events and exhibits will be free and open to the public. They are part of Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, a public programming initiative produced by the NEH and the ALA as part of The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square. The CLACS partnership responds to the University's Building Communities, Expanding Opportunities Initiative.