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Author Piri Thomas to lecture Oct. 14
Author Piri Thomas to lecture Oct. 14October 13, 2005Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
This Friday, Oct. 14, Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs welcomes Piri Thomas, poet, activist, speaker, scholar, storyteller and highly acclaimed author for the Latino Heritage Commemorative Lecture, a culminating event of Latino Heritage Month at SU. Thomas’ lecture, “Culture, Identity and Dignity: The Latino Experience,” will take place in the College of Law’s Grant Auditorium at 7 pm.
Born Juan Pedro Tomas, of Puerto Rican and Cuban parents in New York City’s Spanish Harlem in 1928, Thomas is best known for his powerful memoir, “Down These Mean Streets” (Knopf, 1967), which tells the story of his troubled upbringing as a Puerto Rican and person of color in New York’s Spanish Harlem. The book made “el barrio” (the neighborhood) a familiar term to multitudes of non-Spanish-speaking readers.
During his lecture, Thomas will share a message of hope, encouragement and pride with his audience. “If you are what you eat, you got to be what you think,” says Thomas. “So why mug your mind with thoughts of defeat?”
Thomas’s other books have received wide critical acclaim as well. “Seven Long Times” (Henry Holt & Co., 1974) chronicles one man’s experience in New York’s dehumanizing penal system, while “Savior, Savior Hold My Hand” (Bantam Books, 1973) is an uplifting memoir of life after prison. “Stories from El Barrio” (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1978), a collection of short stories, is for young people of all ages.
Since the publication of “Down These Mean Streets,” Thomas has traveled across the country talking to people, young and old, about his struggle for survival and identity and the effects of racism.
This program is funded by The Kaleidoscope Project, a diversity initiative between the Divisions of Undergraduate Studies and Student Affairs to broaden the understanding of diversity and promote healthy dialogue about related issues at SU. The Office of Multicultural Affairs is a principal unit in the Division of Student Affairs.
For more information on Latino Heritage Month, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at (315) 443-9676. For more information on Piri Thomas,visit http://www.cheverote.com/piri.html.