Participants in Grand Rapids and Chicago will honor current and past Latino civil rights leaders at events in both cities on September 23, which marks the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Young Lords civil and human rights organization.
Grand Valley’s Kutsche Office of Local History has partnered with Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities and other organizations to showcase the rich culture of Latinos living in Grand Rapids and Chicago through a photographic exhibition, educational program, and walking tour of Latino neighborhoods.
Events will begin on Monday, September 23, at 10:30 a.m. in Grand Rapids a welcome from city Mayor George Heartwell and Grand Valley leaders at the Cook Library Center, 1100 Grandville Ave SW.
Heartwell and others will make remarks and then officially launch the opening of a photographic exhibition, “Tengo El Pueblo En Mi Corazón: Latino Civil Rights and Community,” which documents Grand Rapids area Latino leaders. The exhibition is ongoing in the Cook Library Center through October 18.
Melanie Shell-Weiss, director of the Kutsche Office of Local History, said Heartwell and others will detail a new, collaborative community history and leadership program that will be part of the GAAH's Cook Library Scholars program, which engages 31 elementary and middle school students in year-round programming.
A schedule of the day’s events follows.
• 11 a.m.: Walking tour of the Grandville Avenue neighborhood, led by Tim Gleisner, librarian at the Grand Rapids Public Library.
• 12:30 p.m.: A chartered bus, sponsored by the Kutsche Office of Local History, will leave for Chicago for events there (details below).
The tour bus will arrive in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, the birthplace of the Young Lords civil rights movement in 1968. José “Cha-Cha” Jiménez founded the Young Lords movement and documented its history as a student at Grand Valley. He graduated but continues to be involved with Young Lords oral history project that is housed at the university.
A memorial service that evening will honor the Rev. Bruce and Eugenia Johnson, who were murdered in 1969 for their work in supporting Lincoln Park residents who were displaced from their homes in the ’60s.
For more information about the Young Lords visit www.gvsu.edu/younglords or www.nationalyounglords.com. A story was featured in the winter 2013 Grand Valley Magazine: www.gvsu.edu/s/pn.