On Saturday September 22, the OMA was thrilled to attend the Hispanic Heritage and Activism in Oregon conference at Pacific University in Forest Grove, a one day gathering of academics, students, and community members organized by the Centro Cultural de Washington County, Oregon Humanities, and Pacific University.
We began the day viewing the documentary Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program which incorporates numerous interviews with ex-Bracero workers and their families who share their memories of the program.
The morning then included three forums to ”explore the journey of Hispanics to Oregon and Washington County in particular and the activism that has nurtured self determination in the Hispanic community.”
- Latinos in Oregon: De dónde venimos y cómo llegamos
- Activism for Social Justice: Apoyándonos y defendiéndonos
- Personal, Family and professional resiliency. Sobreviviendo y superándonos
During lunch, the keynote speaker, Jerry Garcia, PhD, Director, Chicano Education Program and CAMP, Eastern Washington University, discussed his research on the Bracero Program, specifically the deaths that occurred during the 1940s to Bracero railroad workers.
The afternoon sessions focused on activism in relation to employment, education, and social justice for the Latino/a community in Oregon.
We concluded the conference with a discussion of the take away theme for the day which was: the Need for Education. The education of the Latino/a population so that current and future generations can know their rights and continue the tradition of activism in Oregon as well as the education of the state as a whole so that others will be able to better understand Oregon’s Latino/a heritage and will ideally, become allies in the continued journey toward social justice.