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Lafayette will celebrate its third annual Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15-Oct. 15 with the theme “Latinas Sin Barreras: Latinas Without Borders.” The month will feature a keynote speech by best-selling Cuban-American novelist Cristina Garcia, a performance by pianist and vocalist Rob Gonzales, and many other lectures and cultural events.

In an effort to celebrate Latina women and Latino culture, this year’s programs include a brown bag series on Latinas in business and art, dance lessons, a trip to New York, and a Fiesta Latina.

A brown bag on “Breaking the Barriers: Successful Latinas in Business and Community Development” will feature Erlinda Agron, business codes coordination specialist in Allentown and a leader in the Lehigh Valley’s Latino community, noon Wednesday, Sept. 22, in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

Agron, who received an MBA from Moravian College in 2000, will detail the experiences of Latina business owners for whom she played a pivotal role in helping to establish their businesses. As head of the Community Action Development Corporation in Bethlehem, she and her three-person staff developed business marketing programs as part of the organization’s mission to increase awareness of the area. Her efforts were recognized by the Morning Call newspaper with a 2001 Spirit of the Community award.

Garcia will present a lecture entitled “Living beyond the Hyphen: Identity in the Age of Multiculturalism” noon Wednesday, Oct. 6, in Keefe Commons. The event is sponsored by Lafayette’s Presidential Speaker Series on Diversity. Garcia will discuss assimilation into American society while retaining Latino roots and culture. She will resent her keynote address at 7 p.m. in Oechsle Hall followed by a reception and book signing.

Hailed as one of the most important Cuban-American voices in literature, Garcia was born in Cuba and moved to New York City at age three. She received a master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and a bachelor’s degree in political science at Barnard College.

Another lecture, “Artists of Mexico: Inspiration of the Past and Present,” will be given 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, by Karima Muyaes, who is exhibiting her work Sept. 20-Nov. 12 at the Portlock Black Cultural Center. The Mexican folk artist’s work provides a contemporary look at Aztec culture.

“Each program and event is geared toward increasing awareness, promoting sensitivity, and celebrating Latino culture,” says Jadrien Ellison ’02, intercultural development coordinator. “It’s my desire that the entire campus and community at large take full advantage of the array of programs scheduled, all of which promise to be enlightening experiences.”

Hispanic Heritage Month opened with a PiƱata Party Sept. 15. Events are open to the public and free of charge, except where indicated:
Sept. 16: Latin dance instruction in merengue, mambo, salsa, and tango at Kirby Sports Center room 229 every Thursday from 7:30-9 p.m. for six weeks. Call (610) 330-5772. Cost: $10

Sept.18: New York City Latino tour of El Barrio (Spanish Harlem), Washington Heights, the Hispanic Society of America, and other landmarks, departing 8 a.m. from the William Center for the Arts 8 a.m. Cost: $10.

Sept. 22: Brown bag lecture, “Breaking the Barriers: Successful Latinas in Business and Community Development,” by Erlinda Agron, noon, Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104.

Sept. 22: Spanish Social with dancing, games, and Spanish conversation, Gilbert’s Coffeehouse, 8 p.m.

Sept. 24: Pianist and vocalist Rob Gonzales, Farinon Center Snack Bar, 8 p.m.

Sept. 29: Noche de Cultura, with music, food, and artistry representative of Latino culture, featuring the Hispanic American League of Artists in Allentown, an interdisciplinary ensemble of dancers, actors, vocalists, instrumentalists, visual and media artists, Farinon Center Atrium, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5: “Slanguage” performance by Universes ensemble, Williams Center for the Arts, 8 p.m. Cost: $15. For tickets, call (610) 330-5009 (Student tickets free with ID).

Oct. 6: Brown bag lecture by Cristina Garcia, “Living beyond the Hyphen: Identity in the Age of Multiculturalism,” Keefe Commons, noon; keynote address, Oechsle Hall room 224, 7 p.m.; reception and book signing, Oechsle Hall lobby, 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 14: Brown Bag lecture, “Artists of Mexico: Inspiration of the Past and Present,” by artist-in-residence Karima Muyaes, David A. Portlock Black Cultural Center, 12:15 p.m.; reception, 5-7 p.m., BCC

Oct. 15: Fiesta Latina, Farinon Center Atrium, 11 p.m.-3 a.m.

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