Campus & Community

Spanish Language Celebration to focus on history, culture and legacy

The 7th Annual Spanish Language Celebration will be held at Palm Beach State College March 22-23 to recognize one of the world’s most common languages while addressing biculturalism, Cuba, immigration and other topics concerning Latinos.

Themed “Latino Americans: History, Culture and Legacy,” the event will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. each day in the BioScience Technology Complex and the Library Learning Resource Center, respectively, at the Palm Beach Gardens campus. It will include panel discussions, forums, musical performances and presentations with higher education scholars and community leaders. It is free and open to the public.SLC-680x450

A panel discussion titled “The Immigration Trump Card: A Discussion on Immigration Policy,” is among the highlights March 22. It features local immigration attorney Aileen Joseph; Dr. Jeannett Manzanero, director of the Dr. Kathryn W. Davis Global Education Center at PBSC and Jupiter city councilman Jim Kuretski. In addition, PBSC history Professor Sean Smith will present “Hispanic-America: Historic Roots in U.S. History and Culture” and Robert Van Der Velde, J.D., campus associate dean of academic affairs, will partner with Dr. Anita Kaplan, dean of the bachelor degree programs, to discuss “Merging the Past and Present: A Journey through Modern Cuba.”

March 23 will begin with a presentation by Keysi Montás, associate director of the Department of Safety and Security at Dartmouth College on “New Latinos: Inserting Dominicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans into the American Consciousness.” Highlights also include a panel discussion on biculturalism in South Florida featuring labor attorney Isidro Garcia, PBSC English Professor Maria Garcia-Landry and Deema Gichi, a PBSC library assistant. There also will be a discussion on the history and performance of Tango and Bachata dances.

The Spanish Language Celebration was launched in 2010 by former PBSC professor Patricia Betancourt, and it has continued under the leadership of Spanish Professor Emmanuel Alavarado, who joined the College in fall 2013.

This year’s celebration is partially funded with a $3,000 grant from the “Latino Americans: 500 years in History,” a nationwide public programming initiative “that supports the exploration of the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last five centuries and who have become, with more than 50 million people, the country’s largest minority group.” It is produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. PBSC was among 203 organizations nationwide selected to participate.

Alvarado said the celebration will benefit students and the local community by widening and promoting intercultural understanding.  “We’re hoping to bring to the foreground the influence and impact that the Latino population has had in U.S. history and contemporary American society,’’ he said.

For the complete schedule, including times and room locations, visit:

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