In observance of Hispanic Heritage Month – which runs from Sept. 15-Oct. 15 – Palo Verde College (PVC) will present two local community events celebrating culture, tradition and legacy.

The free and open to the public events, to be held on Sept. 18 and Sept. 25 at the Anthony C. Reale Building CL 101 (One College Dr.), will begin at 5:30 p.m. and feature special guests for meet-and-greets, as well as book signings.

On Sept. 18, Blythe native historian and author Alfredo Acosta Figueroa will be on-hand for the evening with Patricia F. Robles, chairperson of “La Cuna de Aztlan, Sacred Sites Protection Circle” – who also presented at this year’s inaugural “Women’s Expo” at PVC.

“Alfredo Acosta Figueroa was born in Blythe, Calif., in 1934. He is the fourth son of a fifth-generation family of Indigenous-Xicano heritage from the Colorado River Indian Reservation, which encompasses the Palo Verde/Parker Valleys. He credits his mother, father and siblings for his healthy and strong upbringing as a youth and this has been the fundamental base of his family. Alfredo and his siblings grew up in ‘El Barrio Del Cuchillo,’ a neighborhood in Blythe referred by the Chemehuevi elders as, ‘Barrio de la Liebre,’ and in Nahuatl is the ancient ‘Acacitli,’” states Figueroa’s biography. “He has worn many hats and undertaken numerous roles including that of a ‘gambusino’ (miner) all his life, civil rights activist, humanitarian, farm labor organizer (UFW), staunch environmentalist, anti-nuclear activist, historian, political coordinator, boxing coordinator, folkloric singer and guitarist and Indigenous traditionalist. He was fortunate to have served for many years under the personal leadership of two highly respected Xicano leaders, Humberto ‘Bert’ Corona of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) and Cesar Estrada Chavez, United Farm Workers (UFW). His experiences with Corona and Chavez deepened his esteem for humanity and encouraged him to pursue his goals.”

Figueroa’s life experiences also include watershed landmark cases related to civil rights, as well as spearheading roles in the area’s indigenous advocacy, historical education, and ongoing sacred sites protection efforts.

On Sept. 25, PVC will host 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, The Distance Between Us author and motivational speaker Reyna Grande.

Among Grande’s awards and accolades are the 2007 American Book Award, the 2010 International Latino Book Award, a 2015 Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature, a 2016 Eureka! Honor Award from the California Reading Association, a 2017 Honor Book Award for the Américas Award for Children’s Literature and the 2017 International Literacy Association Children’s Book Award.

Grande’s memoir – The Distance Between Us, released in 2012 – tells her story of immigrating to the U.S. from Mexico and the heartfelt challenges therein.

“(Hispanic Heritage Month) observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969) and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15,” states the Library of Congress’ website.

For any questions, inquiries or more information, call PVC Instructional Services Technician I Juan Gonzalez at: (760) 921-5500.

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