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Monday, September 09, 2013 - Hispanic Celebration Month to spotlight history, culture
By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant

Dancers perform during OU's 2012 Hispanic Celebration Month.
The Oakland University community will observe National Hispanic Celebration Month with a series of events showcasing the cultural legacy of Hispanic Americans and their ancestors. 

This year's celebration is headlined by Alina Fernández, the daughter of longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Fernandez will offer insights on Cuban society, politics and culture at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 23, in Varner Recital Hall. 

Hispanic Celebration Month celebration officially kicks off with an opening ceremony set for noon on Friday, Sept. 13, in the Oakland Center Fireside Lounge. Dr. Kurt Metzger, director of Data Driven Detroit will analyze the development and long-term impact of Hispanic communities in Michigan.

The changing religious landscape in Latin America will be the focus of a panel moderated by OU's Dr. Henri Gooren, associate professor of anthropology. The discussion will examine the growth of religious diversity in Latin America and analyze the impact of emerging religions, like Pentecostalism, Mormonism and charismatic Catholicism on everyday life. The event will take place from noon – 2 p.m. in the Oakland Center Gold Rooms on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Alina Fernandez will speak on Sept. 23.
Dr. Ruth Behar, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, will join the OU community for a screening of “Adio Kerida,” a personal documentary about the search for identity and history among Sephardic Jews with roots in Cuba. The event will take place from 3 – 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, in Oakland Center Banquet Room A.

The month-long celebration includes community service at the Hispanic Outreach Center, a trip to the Eastern Market, Detroit Institute of Arts and Mexicantown, and a performance by acclaimed poet Mayda Del Valle.

Festivities will conclude with OU's first-ever Latin Idol competition. Participants will be judged by a panel of Spanish professors, and the top three acts will receive awards. Talents may include singing, dancing, playing an instrument, acting or cooking. To sign up, participants should send their name and a description of their talent to Diane Aguirre at or Brendan Sharp

Oakland's Hispanic Celebration is sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Initiatives, Center for Student Activities, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Disability Support Services, Golden Key International Honor Society, Hispanic American Leadership Organization, Oakland University Student Congress, School of Nursing, Spanish Club, Spanish Grammar Club and Student Program Board. For a complete listing of events, view the website.

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