Indiana University Kokomo Community Conversation focuses on Hispanic/Latino experience

Last Updated on September 8, 2021 by Indiana University Kokomo

KOKOMO, Ind. –  Gain insight into the issues faced by Hispanic/Latino people — in Indiana and across the country — by attending an Indiana University Kokomo virtual town hall meeting Thursday, September 16.

Community Conversations: Voices from the Hispanic/Latino Community is a webinar open to the public, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Those who want to attend may register here to receive a link to view.

Sarah Heath, associate professor of history, will moderate the panel discussion, which includes Raquel Anderson, professor in IU’s Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences; Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, professor of law at the Maurer School of Law; Maria Quiroz-Southwood, education program director for the Indiana Latino Institute (ILI), and Judith Rodriquez, assistant professor of Afro-Latinx Studies, IU Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies; assistant professor of Latino Studies.

J.R. Pico, director of IU Kokomo’s Latinos Unidos: Hispanic Center, part of the campus Multicultural Center, said this conversation is important, because the Hispanic/Latino community now makes up 17 percent of the total U.S. population.

“Their human talent, economic power, and service to this country are enormous,” said Pico, who is also senior lecturer of Spanish. “This community needs to be heard, to feel included, and especially respected. Several issues related to them go unnoticed or ignored, and this has happened for decades, due to lack of representation and effective support.

“These conversations create a great communication connection to benefit all,” he said.

Sarah Sarber, campus chief of staff, said Heath will provide historical context.

“Our hope is to help people gain an understanding not only of the issues there are, but how to best support some of the different populations within our community,” she said. “We want to better understand some of the experiences that people from diverse backgrounds have.”

Sarber noted that the webinar kicks off the campus’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, which runs from September 15 to October 15.

Voices from the Hispanic/Latino Community is the fourth installment in IU Kokomo’s Community Conversation town hall series. Previous sessions have focused on the Black, and Asian American Pacific Islander communities, as well as the power of voting.

Panelists include:

  • Raquel Anderson is interested in the intersectionality of language development in child dual language learners and social factors that impact language input and use. As a Latina, she has gravitated to working with the Latino community in Bloomington, and has volunteered and served as board member in various Latino grass-roots organizations. 
  • Luis Fuentes-Rohwer is the Harry T. Ice Faculty Fellow at the Maurer School of Law, where he teaches and writes in the areas of civil rights and legal history, with a particular emphasis on constitutional law and the Reconstruction Era. His scholarship focuses on the intersection of race and democratic theory, as reflected in the law of democracy in general and the Voting Rights Act in particular.
  • Maria Quiroz-Southwood oversees the ILI’s education program, where through College Access, staff support Latino students in high school through college coaching preparing them for college. She works directly with the Systems Change component of the education program where ILI works with higher education institutions in building culturally responsive programming in the areas of recruitment, retention and graduation rates of Latino students on campuses.
  • Judith Rodriquez specializes in trans-disciplinary approaches to Black critical theory, Afro-Latinx Studies, and Caribbean philosophical thought. Specifically, her work draws together research in Puerto Rican aesthetics and performance studies with Black studies and Black feminist theory, Afro-Caribbean philosophy, and gender and sexuality studies.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

SOURCE: News release from Indiana University Kokomo