The Braceros, An Oregon Experience—Coming up on PBS

OREGON EXPERIENCE

Season 1 Episode 106 | 27m

World War II created a huge demand for American farm products. But the war also caused vast numbers of farm workers to abandon the fields, either to join the military or to seek work in the cities. The solution would be a unique contract-worker agreement between the United States and Mexico — The Bracero Program.

Melissa Lozada-Oliva: CLLAS Latinx Heritage Month Events

October 9, 2019
10:00 amto11:00 am
4:00 pmto5:00 pm
Melissa Lozada-Oliva

A teach-in and poetry slam on the UO campus

CLLAS Teach-In: Language and Poetry as Resistance, October 9, 10am-11am, Knight Library Browsing Room

CLLAS Latinx Heritage Month Poetry Slam by Melissa Lozada-Oliva, October 9, 4pm-5pm, 240C McKenzie Hall

Melissa Lozada-Oliva is an American poet and educator based in New York.

She is the author of chapbooks Plastic Pajaros, Rude Girl is Lonely Girl!, and Peluda. Her poem, “Like Totally Whatever” won the 2015 National Poetry Slam Championship, and went viral.

Former CLLAS student employee now working for FEMA

Kelsey Madsen, (Master of Public Administration, UO, 2018) former employee/intern at CLLAS, has recently accepted a position with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) as a Program Delivery Manager within the Public Assistance Program.

Part of her new position will be helping our local community through the grant process in response to February’s snow storm.

After this local grant process, Kelsey will be moved to the next federally-declared disaster to help other communities through their post-disaster phase. She is very happy to have worked with CLLAS through her graduate degree in the PPPM Department because she feels as though the experience directly prepared her for this new position interacting with the local community while administering grants.

Fiesta Cultural, Latinx History Month help launch fall arts events

From Around the O

As summer winds down, arts events at the University of Oregon are warming up.

Kicking off Latinx Heritage Month on Sept. 5 is Fiesta Cultural, Lane County’s largest annual celebration of Latinx arts and culture. Enjoy live music, dance performances, food trucks, kid’s activities and more in downtown Eugene on Sept. 5.

Be sure to also drop by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and take in the Latinx-focused art exhibition “Resistance as Power: A Curatorial Response to ‘Under the Feet of Jesus,’” opening Sept. 7.

Cinema

All new and returning Ducks are invited to get acquainted with the student orientation staff Sept. 29 at the Global Scholars Hall for an as-yet-to-be-determined Movie on the Lawn event.

Art exhibitions

On view beginning Sept. 7 at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History is “Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo,” a photography exhibit on the North America’s gay rodeo circuit between 1988 and 1992. Combining portraiture and rodeo action, the exhibit includes 41 black-and white photographs chronicling this LGBTQIA tradition while also exploring complex themes of identity and community in the West. While you’re there, be sure to check out all the resplendent exhibits and fun activities the museum has to offer.

'The Fallen,' 2018. Acrylic on canvas

Resistance as Power: A Curatorial Response to ‘Under the Feet of Jesus,’” opening Sept. 7, is the museum’s fourth “Common Seeing” exhibition in conjunction with the UO’s 2019-20 Common Reading of “Under the Feet of Jesus,” a 1995 novel by Helena Maria Viramontes. The exhibition includes two special loans from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, including “Farm Workers’ Altar” by Emanuel Martinez and “Braceros” by Domingo Ulloa, which complement the themes in Viramontes’ novel and contemporary works.

Don’t miss “Art Heals: Reflections and Connections,” a special exhibition at at the art museum that features artwork made in the Alzheimer’s arts access program in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association Oregon and Southwest Washington chapter. The Reflections and Connections program offers free workshops to individuals living with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and their care partners. Participants tour the museum galleries for inspiration and spend an hour in the museum’s studios creating their own art.

Pam Stout, 'Friendly Island'

Artist Mohamed Murshed’s portraits of current UO students and alumni artists with their artwork is on display in the Adell McMillan Gallery in the Erb Memorial Union until Sept. 20, when Murshed, along with several of the artists depicted in his work, will return for a closing reception.

On exhibit at the Aperture Gallery in the EMU is “Border Lands 2019: A Sketchbook Journey” by Oregon artist Betty LaDuke. The sketches frame the experience of migrants, asylum seekers, individuals and families on both sides of the Arizona and Mexico borders who are desperately seeking the dream of safety and opportunity in the U.S. The exhibition continues through Sept. 11.

Cultural events

Mark your calendars for more Latinx Heritage Month-related events taking place at the art museum this fall, including Madre’s Club, a community art club for Spanish-speaking mothers and their children who want to express their creativity and improve their art skills; a visit from Mexican photographer Fernando Soto Vidal, who will discuss his photographs of ofrendas colgantes — “Day of the Dead: Hanging Altars of Coatetelco and Other Expressions from Morelos” — from indigenous communities in Morelos, México, on Oct. 30; and a variety of activities surrounding the Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead celebrationin November.

—By Sharleen Nelson, University Communications

Ernesto Martínez wins Imagen Award for short film ‘La Serenata’

Editor’s Note: Ernesto Martínez is a long-time CLLAS faculty affiliate. His creative work received the Inaugural Latinx Studies Seed Grant from CLLAS in 2018.

UO professor wins Imagen Award for short film ‘La Serenata’ / from Around the O

August 19, 2019—Ernesto Javier Martínez, an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of Oregon, won a prestigious Imagen Award for a short film he wrote, “La Serenata.”

“La Serenata,” directed by Adelina Anthony, is based on Martínez’s children’s book called “Cuando Amamos Cantamos,” or “When We Love Someone We Sing to Them.” It’s a bilingual book about a boy who loves another boy and about the importance of the Mexican serenata tradition.

Ernesto Martínez with co-winners
Ernesto Martínez, left.

The Imagen Awards have been called the “Latino Golden Globes” and have featured well-known people in the entertainment industry such as Guillermo Del Toro, Salma Hayek and Gina Rodriguez.

“Winning the Imagen Award for best short film is an enormous honor, in large part because it brings national attention to issues facing Latino families today about how to best care for the queer children in their lives,” Martínez said. “It was also a bit of surprise because Adelina Anthony, the director of La Serenata, won last year’s Imagen Award for best short film as well. We didn’t know if we would win two years in a row.”

“La Serenata” has also won the Jury Award for best short film at the 32nd annual Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival, the Audience Award for best short film at the San Francisco International Women of Color Film Festival, and the Silver Award for best child actor at the Independent Shorts Awards.

For more information, read this Around the O story about Martínez and his work.

COE research helps bilingual children find classroom success

This article appeared in Around the O July 29, 2019. Researchers involved in this study include several CLLAS-affiliated faculty.

Interviewing a mother in the dual language lab

School by itself can be challenging enough for kids, but when you add in the extra hurdle of also learning English, it adds another layer of complexity to things.

Children who are bright might be misclassified into remedial classes because of poor assessment practices that don’t take into account their dual-language experiences. Other kids who have learning disabilities might not get identified as such and miss out on the instruction they need.

Several College of Education faculty members are trying to address these issues as the Spanish-speaking population continues to grow in Oregon and beyond. They’re working to help schools better help these students, more quickly identify those who need additional attention, and find the best methods to teach them English while simultaneously teaching skills they’ll need to succeed in and outside of the classroom.

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Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership

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Ultimately, the goal is to more seamlessly phase bilingual students into mainstream classrooms rather than marginalize them on the fringes, while also supporting the primary language spoken at their homes.

“The roots of bilingual education are that linguistic diversity is a benefit not just to an individual but also to communities, our country and society as a whole,” said Ilana Umansky, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership.

“We’re helping dispel myths that somehow these kids are naturally at risk,” added Lillian Duran, an associate professor in the Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences. “They’re not. They just speak a different language, and that in itself does not make you at risk. Our educational system creates risk.”

Ilana Umansky

When children enter a school district, parents often fill out questionnaires that ask what language is spoken at home. Any answer other than English triggers an English proficiency test. How children perform on that test could very well determine the trajectory of their lives.

But what about the kids who fall just short in that test and are classified as English-language learners compared with those who just barely pass? Umansky explores the effect of labeling kids as “English-language learners.”

“A lot of opportunities we offer kids are stratified based on race and English-language proficiency,” Umansky said.

Her research explores ways to support greater equity for students, particularly for those who come from immigrant backgrounds and that have a primary language other than English.

Umansky looked at thousands of kids who fell onto both sides of that tipping point. She found that kids who are classified as English-language learners do worse over time — by a small margin — than kids who just meet English requirements and move forward in regular classrooms.

“That’s pretty troubling,” Umansky said. “English-learner services are supposed to help kids, not hurt them.”

Stephanie De Anda

Stephanie De Anda has personal experience growing up in a Spanish-speaking household. As the oldest of three children, the degree of Spanish fluency decreased with each of her two younger siblings as each was exposed to more English at a younger age.

What languages kids hear from birth is a big part of De Anda’s research. She studies how kids connect words in one language to words in the other and how they form those links.

“This has a clinical application for us because we think if we can understand how these languages interact, then maybe we can leverage that in therapy,” said De Anda, an assistant professor in the Communication Disorders and Sciences Program and co-director of the Early Dual Language Development Lab. “So when these kids come to us with a delay, we can say, ‘Oh, I can support your Spanish in hopes it will also help your English and vice versa.’”

There’s a sense of urgency when it comes to supporting academic outcomes when working with kids learning English. Research shows 65 percent to 75 percent of children with early reading problems continue to read poorly.

Of children with reading problems, 10 percent to 15 percent drop out of high school, and 2 percent eventually complete a four-year college program. De Anda’s research focuses on identifying kids with early language delays and impairments and finding interventions that work best to make them successful in school.

“This has always been important, but we’re just starting to put resources toward it,” De Anda said.

Lauren Cycyk

By 2050, one in three children are projected to be Latino, and Oregon has one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the nation. Schools need to be ready to address their needs. That’s where Lauren Cycyk’sresearch steps in.

Cycyk, an assistant professor in the Communication Disorders and Sciences Program and co-director of the Early Dual Language Development Lab with De Anda, looks at ways to incorporate and involve a student’s community in the process of helping them overcome language or learning disorders prior to entry.

“Language disorders are nondiscriminatory,” Cycyk said. “Learning disorders are nondiscriminatory.”

About 10 percent of children have language-learning difficulties. Her work ensures that early education and special education practitioners work with them in ways that respect children’s culture and language while also incorporating their family early in the process.

“For many families, their home educational systems are very different than ours in the U.S.,” Cycyk said. “It’s simply giving them the key to the black box: ‘Here’s how it works in our educational system, so let’s think about how we can encourage your participation so your child is successful.’”

College of Education

Lillian Duran

Schools regularly test students to gauge their strengths and weaknesses. But when you assess a students’ skills in a language they are still learning, does that really gauge what they know about math, reading or writing?

Lillian Duran is working on ways to more accurately test kids’ skills and then catch them early. She develops assessments for preschoolers that measure their language and early reading skills, such as familiarity with the alphabet.

“Most measures we have right now are only in English,” Duran said. “When you have children who enter a program at 3, 4, 5 years old who have primarily been exposed to Spanish, those measures are a poor reflection of actual ability levels. They can historically score very low on measures of English language and literacy and yet still have very high skills in Spanish.”

Duran’s assessments help identify kids who would benefit from extra support so they’re ready for kindergarten and ensure students aren’t underestimated simply because they don’t speak English.

Duran developed her assessments by working with more than 900 preschoolers across the U.S. She’s now working on another measure to monitor progress, which she expects to be available next year.

“The need is only going to increase,” Duran said. “Just think of the resources we’re pouring into remediation when we should be putting resources into prevention and enrichment activities.”

David Liebowitz

In the 1960s and 1970s nearly 500 school districts were ordered to implement some form of a desegregation policy so schools’ racial makeup would more closely resemble that of their overall district.

In the 20 years between 1990 and 2010, however, 215 school districts were released from their desegregation orders, and the outcomes weren’t all positive, David Liebowitz found in his research.

Liebowitz, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership, compared districts that had been released from their desegregation orders with other districts that had not been released or were released at a different time. Districts that were released saw an increase in dropout rates among black and Latino students of 3 percentage points.

“There’s good evidence that desegregation policies improved schools and long-term life outcomes for black and Latino students,” Liebowitz said. “My study looked at what happened at the end of that period when desegregation ended, and it appears to have produced negative outcomes.”

Liebowitz, who joined the College of Education faculty in 2018, is building on his findings by looking for ways Oregon school administrators can better support Latino students in schools, and his work exemplifies that of his fellow College of Education colleagues, especially as it applies to Oregon.

“There’s not lot of quality evidence out there on what actions and behaviors school leaders can take that are most predictive of improved student outcomes,” Liebowitz said. “That’s a really great question to answer in the Oregon context.”

By Jim Murez, University Communications




Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies Gift Fund

Access the above link for giving to the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies Gift Fund. Online gifts may be made using the form available at this link; all gifts are processed by the University of Oregon Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization responsible for receiving and administering private donations to the University of Oregon.

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2019 Judge Yassmin Barrios Lecture / photos by Jack Liu

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