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Celebrating Hispanic heritage Documentary filmmaker Valadez to visit UTRGV campuses

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Mexican American Studies Program, Office of Student Involvement and the University Library will host a discussion and film screening with filmmaker John Valadez about his documentary “The Head of Joaquín Murrieta.”

Admission is free and the public is invited to attend. The event will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Union Theater in Edinburg and at noon Thursday in the Student Union’s Gran Salón.

Valadez is an award-winning producer and director of documentaries, including “The Longoria Affair.” He produced the PBS series “Visiones: Latino Arts and Culture” and the PBS special “Beyond Brown.” “The Head of Joaquín Murrieta” focuses on the legendary Mexican outlaw.

For the next three weeks, several UTRGV departments will host events that will commemorate and educate students about the Latino culture as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Last Wednesday, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley kicked off its observance of Hispanic Heritage Month with the 16 de Septiembre celebration in the Student Union’s Gran Salón in Brownsville and the Quad in Edinburg.

The national observance began in 1968 when Congress passed a resolution authorizing then-President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim the week, including Sept. 15 and 16, as Hispanic Heritage Week.

Daniela Venegas, student program adviser for the Office of Student Involvement, organized the event and told The Rider she was pleased with the outcome of the 16 de Septiembre celebration.

“We want to bring these educational events for students,” Venegas said last Wednesday. “I know we’re really close to the border and not a lot of people have the ability to go to Mexico, so [we decided to] bring the event here to campus.”

16 de Septiembre, hosted by the Office of Student Involvement, celebrated Mexico’s Independence Day and offered students the opportunity to learn more about Mexico’s culture.

Students also enjoyed a can toss game and Lotería, as well as a performance by Mariachi Zacatecas. Tamales and lemonade were served to students who attended the celebration.

Kinesiology freshman Rosanna Villarreal, who attended the event in Brownsville, said she enjoyed the celebration and even won a UTRGV T-shirt.

“It was pretty fun,” Villarreal said. “I love the festivities and getting to meet new people and just being part of the community and the UTRGV experience.”

Villarreal said her favorite part of the celebration was the free food and games.

For more information about Hispanic Heritage Month festivities, call the Office of Student Involvement at 665-2660 in Edinburg and 882-5111 in Brownsville.

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