Today: Apr 12, 2024

History of the Latino Community lecture with Juan González

Jaylen Carr Sports Editor

Award-winning journalist and best-selling author Juan González spoke to students and faculty about how the media has covered the Latino community in the past. 

Associate Professor and Director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies Carmen Coury opened the keynote lecture by discussing how she had her students read González’s book. 

“What most stands out to me, and my students’ comments about this book, is the way Mr. González has managed to tell a very human story of the role that Latinos have played in U.S American history,” Coury said.  

González experience in journalism has helped humanize immigration, Coury said. In González’s “Harvest of Empire” begins to unpack the history of the growth and development of the Latino community in the U.S.  

The keynote lecture by González was held at Adanti Student Center Ballroom on April 11 to help bring faculty and students together to view the history of how Latino communities have grown. González spent 29 years as a columnist for the New York Daily News.  

“González statistical analysis reveals that not only is the number of Hispanic voters in our county growing, so too is this community’s willingness to go the polls,” Coury said. “This had real repercussions for this nation’s political landscape, and it’s something that politicians on both sides of the aisle might wish to consider.” 

Coury said neither the Republican party nor the Democratic party had not handled immigration well. “As I speak, the Biden Administration is debating the possibility of reinstituting the inhuman separation of migrant children from their parents as a means of deterring would-be asylum seekers.” 

Hispanic voters will not forget the injustice policies when election season comes around, Coury said.  

González said he has spoken out against injustice in the Latin community since the 1960s and 1970s.  

When he was a student at Columbia University, González said he and others protested the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in 1968. The protest not only incorporated anti-war sentiment but anti-racist views, according to González presentation. 

González, an investigative journalist, is a co-host of Democracy Now! a media outlet. He has worked there since 1996 and continues co-hosting, discussing hot-button news.  

The daily contributions from the Latino community get unnoticed, and journalists must cover these Latino communities, González said.  

“Even today, the hardest, working and least appreciated worker in the United States is performed by Latin Americans,” González said. “Those who pick the fruits and vegetables that nourish us, butcher the meat and poultry we consume, who tend our homes and repair our house.” 

After the González’s lecture, the attendees were able to ask González, questions about his book, covering the Latino community, and more. 

There are challenges today for a journalist because there is a lot of fake news, González said. “But when people come together, they can affect real change, and you will never feel powerless.” 

González said it was important to incorporate his story about growing up as a Latin American in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s because it was going to establish the research that he has done for the award-winning book, “Harvest of Empires.” 

Juan González speaking at lecture at SCSU | Sarah Shelton

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