Award-winning author, speaker and educator Reyna Grande will deliver the keynote address “The Color of Dreams” at the 22nd Annual Leonardo Dorantes Memorial Lecture at Santa Barbara City College on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
The event, which focuses each year on diversity and equality, will be held from 12:45 to 2 p.m. at SBCC’s Garvin Theatre on West Campus. A reception and booksigning will follow the presentation. Both are free and open to the community.
At a time when immigration politics are at a boiling point in the United States, Grande is an important public voice for Mexican Americans and immigrants of every origin. The Distance Between Us is her latest book and memoir.
Born in Mexico, Grande was 2 years old when her father left for the United States to find work. Her mother followed her father north two years later, leaving her and her siblings behind in Mexico.
In 1985, at 9 years old, Grande entered the United States as an undocumented immigrant to live with her father. Filled with hope, she quickly realized that life in America was far from perfect. She found solace from a violent home in books and writing and broke away, going on to become the first person in her family to earn a degree in higher education.
Grande holds a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and film and video from UC Santa Cruz and received her master’s degree in creative writing from Antioch University. She is a frequent speaker at high schools, colleges and universities throughout the country and encourages her audiences to pursue their own passions.
The Dorantes lecture series at Santa Barbara City College was established in honor of Leonardo Dorantes, a SBCC second-year student and Mexican immigrant, who was tragically killed in 1990 in an assault with strong racial overtones. Started in 1991 by the Foundation for SBCC, the series was designed to heighten the awareness and understanding of racial and ethnic differences and shared commonalities in Santa Barbara.
Sponsors this year are the Foundation for SBCC and SBCC’s Extended Opportunities Programs and Services.
— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.