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ITL-spanish seminar spotlightFor the sixth straight year, the Spanish program will host a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) and Latino Speakers Series. The annual event brings writers, activists, filmmakers, artists and politicians to Canisius to read from their works, show their films or documentaries, conduct workshops and display their art.  This year’s reading will be by Michael Nava, a recently retired lawyer who is known for his Henry Rios series of detective novels. The event will take place on Tuesday, April 26 at 7:00 p.m. in Old Main 314. Nava’s groundbreaking work introduced the voice of Chicanos into the genre of detective fiction, includes gay protagonists and deals with HIV/AIDS.  He is currently working on a series of historical novels, the first of which, City of Palaces, has garnered him praise.

The speakers are chosen in consultation with the students from the Spanish Honors Society, Sigma Delta Pi.  Spanish faculty and their Canisius Earning Excellence Program (CEEP) students coordinate with Sigma Delta Pi and other organizations for co-sponsorship, including the Fitzpatrick Institute, the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, embraceWNY and other departments such as Political Science/International Relations, Latin American Studies, ArtsCanisius, Fine Arts and Art History, Unity and All-College Honors.

The Spanish Department not only sponsors public lectures but also opportunities for speakers to contribute to Spanish, Political Science and other classes to share their stories with students, demonstrating the Jesuit value of magis.  Some of the notable speakers include Alberto Rey, a Cuban American artist who spoke about his art and its focus on environmental issues in Western New York and about Cuban refugees who flee on rafts.  Rey also paid a visit to the Spanish Introduction to Composition class while discussing Latin American arts.  Another notable speaker was Charlie Vázquez, the director of the Bronx Writing Project.  In addition to a public reading, Vázquez conducted a two-day workshop for students in Spanish Seminar on detective fiction to help students develop their own detective stories. Other past speakers include José Galvez, the first Chicano to receive a Pulitzer Prize in photographic journalism; Benjamin Alire Saenz, a Chicano novelist; Luis Negrón, a prize-winning Puerto Rican short story writer; slam poet Emanuel Xavier; and Buffalo native comic, Bob Smith.

Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president, academic affairs