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As part of Lafayette’s celebration of Latino Heritage Month, spoken word artist Louis Reyes Rivera will perform 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Farinon Center Snack Bar. The event is free and open to the public.

Known as the “Janitor of History,” Rivera is a professor of Pan-African, African-American, Caribbean, and Puerto Rican literature and history. The poet/essayist has been teaching his craft since 1969, and many consider him a necessary bridge between the African and Latino communities.

Rivera’s works are included in the award-winning collections In Defense of Mumia, ALOUD: Live from the Nuyorican Poets’ CafĂ©, Of Sons and Lovers, and Bum Rush the Page. Scattered Scripture is a compilation of 46 of Rivera’s poems. He has appeared on C-SPAN as part of the Reparations Now rally and on HBO as part of Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam.

He has hosted the bi-monthly 1st & 3rd Sundays Jazzoetry & Open Mic @ Sistas’ Place, where he also conducts writing workshops, in Brooklyn, N.Y. since 1996. Rivera has appeared at jazz clubs and festivals with the Sun Ra All-Stars Project and Ahmed Abdullah’s Diaspora. Rivera’s band, the Jazzoets, is an ensemble of poets and musicians that epitomizes a unique meld between jazz and performance poetry. He also hosts his own radio show called Perspective, a forum for cultural workers, Thursdays at 2 p.m. on WBAI (99.5 FM).

Rivera is the recipient of over 20 awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, a Special Congressional Recognition Award, and the City College of New York 125th Anniversary Medal.

“An Evening with Spoken Word Artist Louis Reyes Rivera” is sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Development, Lafayette Activities Forum, and Hispanic Society of Lafayette.

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