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September 1, 2006
DH 06 RH65
Contact: Russ Hudson,
Media Relations Coordinator
CSUDH Professor Has Role in Archdiocese’s Immigration Policy Meeting
Carson, CA—The little-known and seldom-taught common history between Mexicans and African-Americans will be the thrust of California State University, Dominguez Hills Africana Studies Professor Ron Wilkins’ address at the Los Angeles Archdiocese’s 12th annual Public Policy Breakfast on Sept. 13 with Cardinal Roger Mahony. The title of this year’s breakfast is “Immigrants and Immigration: Opportunities and Challenges for Los Angeles.”
“One thing I’ll be bringing out in my address is the fact that many African people went to Mexico for freedom during slave days in America and for work afterward. Although many black people here are ok with Mexican immigration, some are not. I’m saying we need to think of reciprocity. If the Mexicans welcomed black people before who went to Mexico to seek work, then why can’t we welcome Mexicans seeking work now?
“Mexico was approached by the United States a number of times between 1822 and the Civil War to get them to sign a treaty to return slaves to the U.S., but Mexico would never do it. I will also point out that black people played a big part in Mexico’s war for independence. The first army for independence was called Ejercito Moreno, the Dark Army, because there was so many African-descent people in it. The second president of Mexico, Vicente Guerrero, was an African-Mexican. Mexicans and Black Americans have much more in common than many know.”
Wilkins has done extensive research in Mexico, its history, and its historical relationship with African slaves and African Americans. He has an extensive photo collection of African-descent Mexicans living harmoniously in Mexico with the rest of the population. The photos, and information on the historical relationship between Mexicans and black Americans, has been on an extensive tour in Southern California, parts of the East Coast and in Mexico.
With Wilkins will be Ali Modares of the Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles, the featured guest speaker; Eunsook Lee, executive director of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium; and Abel Valenzuela, Jr., director of the Center for Study of Urban Policy at UCLA. Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, will be the moderator.
The breakfast is sponsored by the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. at St. Vincent School, 2333 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles. The Archdiocese’s requested donation is $25.
For more information, call (213) 637-7560.
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University Communications & Public Affairs
Welch Hall, B-363
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson, CA 90747