RIT Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month With Two October Speakers

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter Rochester Institute of Technology celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with two October speakers-author Sandra Benitez and actor and activist Edward James Olmos.

Author Sandra Benitez-the recipient of the 2004 Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature-will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 in Ingle Auditorium, Student Alumni Union.

A reception and autograph signing will follow in Fireside Lounge.

Benitez has authored four novels-A Place Where the Sea Remembers, Bitter Grounds, The Weight of All Things and Night of the Radishes. Born in Washington, D.C., her life and writing has been enhanced by the Latin American culture of her Puerto Rican mother and Anglo-American father from Missouri.

Her stories give voice to the tales of humble, hopeful people: Salvadoran servants, coffee pickers, farmers working their small plots of land, Mexican paper-flower makers, hotel chambermaids, mid-wives and salad-makers.

Benitez is a creative writing teacher and lecturer and has recently completed her first non-fiction book, Bag Lady: How One Woman Turned the Sow's Ear of a Chronic Disease into the Silk Purse of a Fulfilling Life, documenting her 30-year struggle with inflammatory bowel disease.

Tickets, available from the SAU candy counter, are $2 for students and children and $5 general admission. Call 475-5210 to purchase with credit card.

Edward James Olmos-an actor, director, producer and community activist-will speak at 8 p.m. on Oct. 9 in Ingle Auditorium. Following his talk, We're All in the Same Gang, is an autograph signing and reception will be in Fireside Lounge.

As an award-winning actor, Olmos played the role of Lt. Castillo in the popular TV series, Miami Vice-for which he won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award-and starred in Gregory Nava's hit film, Selena. He received another Golden Globe for his work in 1994's The Burning Season and an Oscar Nomination for Stand and Deliver. He now stars in the PBS series, American Family-the first Latino drama series on American broadcast television.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Olmos takes a special interest in the problems that youth confront-he does his part by serving as executive director of the Lives in Hazard Education project, a national gang prevention program, and as the United States Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.

Tickets, also available at the candy counter, are $5 for students, $12 for faculty, staff and alumni, and $18 general admission. Call 475-5210 to purchase with credit card.

Both speakers are sponsored by the Cultural Spotlight Series, Center for Campus Life, Northstar Center and Hispanic Heritage planning committee. Sign language interpreters have been requested.

Founded in 1829, RIT is internationally recognized as a leader in computing, engineering, imaging technology, fine and applied arts, and education for the deaf. RIT enrolls more than 15,500 students in 340 undergraduate and graduate programs. For the past decade, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT as one of the nation's leading comprehensive universities.