The national tour of conversations will amplify the Latino voice on critical community issues. The tour is also being hosted in conjunction with UTRGV’s nationally recognized HESTEC (Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology) Week, now in its 14th year, and promotes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers and pathways for students in the Rio Grande Valley.
The “I Am Latino in America” Tour kicks off Sept. 28 at Florida International University, with plans to roll out in five more cities including Edinburg, and Los Angeles, CA. Additional tours are planned for the spring and summer 2016, with more than 15 cities expected to host the live event.
“The opportunity to host a respected and well-known journalist like Soledad O’Brien and the ‘Latino in America’ tour at UTRGV highlights the significance of our university within the Latino community and in higher education,” said Veronica Gonzales, UTRGV vice president of Governmental and Community Relations. “After opening our doors as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas, the timeliness of hosting such an event is monumental.
“The issues that will be debated are pertinent to the Latino community-at-large, especially in the South Texas region. UTRGV is expanding educational opportunity in the Valley and educating our future leaders. ‘Latino in America’ will not only bring a spotlight to UTRGV, but to the pressing issues faced by Latinos in the U.S.
“We look forward to welcoming Mrs. O’Brien and the entire ‘Latino in America’ production to our Edinburg campus, and thank Ingenuity for its partnership in facilitating the inclusion of UTRGV as part of this tour,” Gonzales said.
O’Brien is a former CNN and NBC anchor and the CEO of multimedia production and distribution company Starfish Media Group. She previously hosted two “Black in America” tours that highlighted issues like police brutality and civil rights. The “I Am Latino in America” tour will address voting, the economy and education issues.
Influential celebrities, national and local advocates, business leaders, students and academics will join O’Brien along the tour.
“Latinos are 54 million strong, make up a quarter of the children in this country, and include 25 million voters with $1.5 trillion in buying power,” O’Brien said. “Our tour will empower the U.S. Hispanic community’s collective voice in a crucial election year.”
More than 4,000 college students, as well as local and national Latino leaders, are expected to attend the first three events hosted by the following colleges and universities.
· Sept. 28: Miami, FL – Florida International University
· Oct. 5: Edinburg, Texas – University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
· Oct. 15: Los Angeles, CA – Occidental College
Making the tour possible are presenting sponsor Northwestern Mutual and sponsors Macy’s and Southwest Airlines. “Northwestern Mutual representatives and advisors are proud to serve as trusted partners helping Latino families and business owners achieve financial security,” said Conrad York, Vice President-Marketing and a member of the company’s diversity and inclusion committee. “Through our commitment to improving the lives of children, families, and the communities where they live, we are pleased to sponsor this conversation important to the Latino community.”
The tour is co-produced by INGEÑUITY, a content and experiential event firm that creates, designs and produces groundbreaking signature platforms connecting brands to people experiences. “I Am Latino in America” is the inaugural tour from INGEÑUITY’s Success Stories Live! Tours Division. “We are excited to develop such an important event with an exceptional talent as Soledad O’Brien,” said David Chavez, CEO, INGEÑUITY. “We’re designing the full experience for attendees from red carpets and musical performances to special guests!”
Soledad O’Brien has covered race, ethnicity and compelling social issues her entire career, creating a franchise of Latino in America and Black in America documentaries, books and speaking tours that provoke conversation. She is the author of “Latino in America, a Memoir” (2009) and “The Next Big Story” (2010), the story of how her Black Cuban mother and Australian immigrant father came together to give their children a world of opportunities during the civil rights era.
For Tour information, visit www.iamlatinoinamerica.com.
To host a Tour stop, media inquiry and sponsor partner opportunities, contact Sarah Chavez at INGEÑUITY at (913) 397-8850 or schavez@WeAreIngenuity.com.