Five Morningside College students and a staff member attended the 8th Annual Strengthening and Valuing Latino/a Communities in Iowa Conference “Raices/Roots: Honoring Our Past to Build Our Future” held in October in Des Moines, Iowa.
The conference for educators, policy makers, institutions, businesses, communities, and community-based organizations explored issues facing Latino communities in Iowa and seeks to builds collective strength to address challenges. The conference was coordinated by a statewide committee and co-sponsored by the University of Iowa. The event recognizes the economic, cultural, and societal contributions of Latino/as in Iowa, and helps develop skills for working more effectively in and with Latino/a populations. (Artwork at right by Ricardo Levins Morales.)
Students attending the conference included Monica Arreola, Diana Garcia, Vanessa Gascon, Rebeca Hernandez, and Veronica Rivas, all of Sioux City. Also attending the conference was Sandi O’Brien, director of diversity affairs at Morningside.
Students attended several sessions including the keynote address by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Sonia Nazario, who wrote “Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother;” Puerto Rican artist Ricardo Levins Morales, who spoke on “Art as Medicine and Strategy;” and a production by Teatro del Pueblo, a Latino theatre group based in Minneapolis, Minn.
The Morningside students are all members of Diversity at Morningside, a campus student organization dedicated to empowering minority students and increasing campus and community awareness of multicultural issues.