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First heritage month speaker a hit

Celebrating Latino Heritage month, Cherrie Moraga, esteemed Chicana playwright, essayist and poet, read from her works to a crowd of supporters in the Student Union last Thursday.

This is the first of the Encuentros (Encounters), a series of lectures by writers, artists and activists coming to Mills this month, sponsored by the ethnic studies department.

Moraga used Spanish and English to tell her stories of family, motherhood, love between women, education and protest, lending her own insight into Chicano history.

“I write a lot about being a mother,” Moraga said of her recent work.

Reading from her latest children’s story, Moraga introduced the audience to Little Nemo, the 9-year-old boy with “mixed blood” and eyebrows that furrow and resemble Frida Kahlo.

He learns the hard way why he cannot wear Nike sneakers, that a “gringo” stands for greed and that his politically active mother is busy working on her “thesis”- a dreaded word.

Moraga also read from her recent play “Watsonville: Some Place Not Here,” where women factory strikers grapple with generational differences and conflicting hopes for improving conditions.

Moraga acknowledged that finding a venue for her plays is not always easy.

Although “not palpable” for mainstream audiences, she said preserving oral tradition is important.

“I write to be read, even in theatre.”

This first event in the Encuentros series was well attended and lively, with fans from Mills, Stanford, Berkeley and the surrounding community present. Moraga herself promised to attend the remaining events.

Make sure to catch the rest of this dynamic series.