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From Poverty to Empowerment: A Call To Action

Ethnic expert keynote speaker for Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

By Jody Record, Media Relations
January 10, 2007

Carlos Munoz
Carlos Munoz, MLK Jr. keynote speaker

A diversity expert who served as an advisor on Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign has been chosen to deliver the commemorative address during the university’s Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration.

Distinguished Latino scholar Carlos Muñoz, Jr., professor emeritus in ethnic studies at Berkeley, was selected, in part, according to Jerianne Boggis of the Multicultural Student Affairs office, because of his ability to address the issue of poverty and empowerment, the theme of this year’s birthday remembrance.

Muñoz will present “Dr. King and His Legacy: Celebration, Remembrance, and Action: Prioritizing the Issues of Poverty and Inequality in the Context of the Struggle for a Multiracial Democracy,” Jan. 31, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Johnson Theatre, Paul Creative Arts Center.

Addition celebratory events include a candlelight vigil Wednesday, Jan. 17, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. at the MUB circle. At 6:30 p.m., the photo exhibit “Journey to the Mountain Top: Poverty & the Working Poor in New Hampshire” will be on display in the MUB.

On Sunday, Jan. 28, Arthur Hilson, pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church, will present “Economic Justice: A Spiritual Celebration of the Legacy and Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” from 4 to 5:30 p.m. during an interfaith celebration at St. George's Episcopal Church, 1 Park Court, Main Street.

Muñoz will also sit on an educational panel taking place Thursday, Feb. 1, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., in the Strafford Room at the MUB. Panel members will discuss the economic challenges facing refugees and other families here in New Hampshire and poverty and empowerment in communities around the country.

A graduate of California State University at Los Angeles and the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA., Muñoz, was the founding chair of the first Chicano studies department in the nation, launched at California State in 1968. He was also the founding chair of the National Association of Chicana & Chicano Studies.

The California resident was born in El Paso, Texas, the son of poor Mexican immigrants. Raised in the barrios of East Los Angeles, he is the author of numerous works on the Mexican American political experience and on African American and Latino political coalitions, including “Youth, Identity, Power: the Chicano Movement,” described by one reviewer as a critical look at the origins and development of Chicano radicalism in America.

“Youth, Identity, Power” was a major resource for the PBS television series “Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement.” Muñoz served as senior consultant for the project and was also featured in the program.

A leader in the founding of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, Muñoz has been a strong advocate in the struggles for civil and human rights, social justice, and peace in the United States and abroad since he was a student activist in the 1960s. He was an organizer of various multiracial coalitions, including the Faculty for Human Rights in Central America, Faculty Against Apartheid in South Africa, and The Rainbow Coalition.

In 1988, he was a key advisor to the Jesse Jackson presidential campaign. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and is a co-founder of the Institute for Multiracial Justice in San Francisco.

He also co-founded Latinos Unidos, a grassroots community organization in Berkeley. Muñoz, who served in Vietnam, is a member of the Veterans for Peace and is active in the Counter-Military Recruitment in the Public Schools Movement as well as in the larger Anti-Iraq War Movement.

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