Being Latino in America: Our Present and Future

All Library locations are closed today, Monday, September 1, in observance of Labor Day.

A groundbreaking panel discussion touching on issues ranging from political influence on elections to societal stereotypes to whether or not English should be the only language spoken in classrooms.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
8:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Being Latino in America: Our Present and Future is a groundbreaking panel discussion designed to tell the diverse stories of a rich culture.

The discussion will reflect the triumphs and turmoil as well as the diversity of people in the culture.

Panelists from various Latin ancestries with diverse backgrounds and professions will discuss several issues ranging from political influence on elections to societal stereotypes to whether or not English should be the only language spoken in classrooms.

“With the first Latina judge seated on the highest court this year, the future looks bright for Latinos,“ said Angela Cervantes, a participant in the discussion, “but we still have a long way to go. I look forward to this panel serving as a discussion starter and exploration.”

Panelists include Cervantes and fellow writer Gustavo Aybar as well as journalist Chris Hernandez. Sylvia Maria Gross of KCUR’s KC Currents will moderate.

Cervantes earned her B.A. in English from the University of Kansas and her MBA from Avila University. Her poetry has been featured in Urban Latino Magazine, The Kansas City Star, and the spoken word compilation CD La Raza Spoken Here, released by Calaca Press. In 2008, she was named one of The Kansas City Star Magazine’s 2008 Emerging Artists. In 2009, Cervantes is focusing on her first novel.

Aybar, studying romance languages and literature as a graduate student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has been a featured poet at The Blue Room, Shane Evans’ Dream Studio, Johnson County Community College, and the Riverfront Reading Series. His writing can be found in the anthology Primera Pagina: Poetry from the Latino Heartland as well as Present Magazine, The Nubian Chronicles, and Downgo Sun.

Hernandez is the political and City Hall reporter for NBC Action News with a deft touch for putting political coverage in perspective, he has covered political campaigns for nearly two decades. Hernandez joined NBC Action News as a reporter in 2004 and is thrilled to be back in his hometown. Chris spends some of his free time helping with community events and has served as the 2006 Honorary Chairman for the AIDS Bicycle Challenge.

Gross co-hosts and produces KC Currents, an award-winning weekly feature that covers news and culture in Kansas City’s diverse communities. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, The World, and Studio 360. She studied English at Yale University, and then spent a year researching arts education in Brazil on a Fulbright grant. When she returned from Brazil, she taught middle school math and English while completing a master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University in New York City.