Category Archives: Annual Conference

Book Award 2017 Winner: Maria Josefina Saldana-Portillo


Maria Josefina Saldana-Portillo in Indian Given: Racial Geographies across Mexico and the United States (Duke University Press, 2016) writes the definitive understanding of how indigenous racialized identity was created in the Americas.  An expansive and ambitious study of  indigenous representation across time and geographies, her work on racial geographies is an amazing study of how the indigenous is read into Mexico and the nonindigenous is read out of the US.  Her transnational histories begins with the colonial readings that cement racialized assumptions of identity to the more contemporary “lost” indigenous identities of the Mexican-American.  The attention to historical documents, legal documents, archived works, literature, and contemporary society represents a wealth of study.  This text contextualizes how racialized identities are created and the stakes in creating those identities are explained through each historical period.



by Nelia Olivencia, Ph.D., Chair

The 1964 Civil Rights Act created the pathway to Chicana and Chicano Studies and ethnic studies programs where they established a presence in academia and the community. In 2016, we are confronting the dilution and/or elimination of many of these hard fought programs; we are confronting a change in the opposite direction, away from the exciting and hopeful years of the late 1960s and early 1970s where Chicana and Chicano Studies programs became the beacons of hope for Chicana and Chicanos in the community and in academia.

In such a context, now is the time to celebrate NACCS, and its role in the continued growth of Chicana and Chicano Studies to create and support a leadership that will confront the vast changes in our society where Anglo Americans are becoming the minority.

Since 1972, The National Association for Chicana and Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) has been in the forefront of establishing, maintaining, and expanding programs to reflect our concerns and grow our own leadership. We have done an admirable job with Chicana and Chicano Studies programs expanding to universities all over the United States. This momentum needs to continue.

Last year NACCS’ theme Chicana/o In/Civilities: Contestation y Lucha addressed the need to confront in/civilities and as a result, we dialogued and coalesced together as one for common goals and objectives.   We reflected upon the instruments used to gain civil rights, examined their validity in the present and maintained the ideal that the fight for equality is a worthy endeavor.

And we must always continue this struggle, this fight. The challenges in places such as Arizona or the discourse of hate being fueled at the national level greatly affect our communities. We are being inundated with behavior and attitudes that challenge our fundamental democratic belief that “all are created equal.” Instead, the national conversation points to creating racial, class, ethnic, and religious warfare that challenges the very essence of what it is to be a U.S. citizen.

However, there are spotlights across the country. The state of California and Tejas are working on establishing ethnic studies and Chicana and Chicano Studies in the K-12. where a recent Stanford University study showed that “researchers found that students not only made gains in attendance and grades, they also increased the number of course credits they earned to graduate.” Here in my home state of Wisconsin, our community stopped anti-immigrant bills AB450 and SB533. Victories are always victories.

Thus, the legacy of the civil rights movement continues to reverberate. Of course challenges always remain. For us, NACCS is an organization that over the years has been able to transcend its differences for the better good of all. We will continue to develop our leadership, support our communities, and fight for educational rights. As Carlos R. Guerrero, Past-Chair of NACCS has stated “… we have come a long way. Our path has been full of peaks, valleys, joy and resistance.” No doubt that we have lots of work ahead.


NACCS 43: Plenary Speakers

StephanieStephanie Alvarez is an associate professor of Mexican American studies at university of Texas – Rio Grande valley and faculty affiliate in literature and cultural studies. She is passionate about providing students with a culturally and linguistically affirming education and opportunities to connect their education with their lived experiences, and recover their experiences and stories and those of their familias and communities. She uses literature, art, music and comedy as tools to guide students through the process of recovery which often happens through testimonio, oral history and digital story-telling. her research is grounded in the same concepts.  In addition, this year, Dr. Alvarez was selected to receive the Outstanding Latino/a Faculty in Higher Education (Teaching Institutions) Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE).


RustyNancy “Rusty” Barcelo has served as Northern New Mexico College’s president since July 2010. She is known nationally for her work in academics and diversity. She brings a national reputation and a 30-year career in higher education at the university level to Northern, as the College continues a transition to a high-quality four-year institution offering baccalaureate degrees in 14 disciplines, and a graduate-level program in the advanced planning stage.Dr. Barceló’s teaching experience is extensive; she has served as an affiliate faculty, affiliate assistant professor, adjunct faculty, and adjunct assistant professor. She is also currently a full professor. Prior to her appointment as President of Northern, she served as Vice President and Vice Provost for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota. She has written for numerous publications, including Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas and a forthcoming chapter in a book by Sylvia Hurtado on diversity and institutional transformation in universities. She is recognized nationally for her excellent professional presentations. She has received many awards, including the NACCS 2012 Scholar award (National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies), and the New Mexico Hispano Round Table “Walk the Talk” award.

ClarissaClarissa Rojas Durazo grew up in the border cities Mexicali, Baja California and Calexico, California. Her family has roots in Sonora and the border cities Nogales and Douglas, Arizona, as well as Guadalajara, Jalisco. Her scholarship and activism explore the interrelatedness of myriad manifestations of violence and the possibilities for the transformation of violence.Clarissa co-founded INCITE: Women of Color Against Violence and co-edited The Color of Violence, re-released by Duke this year. She also co-edited Heteropatriarchal Institutional Violence and the Future of Chican@ Studies,” in Chicana/Latina Studies and a special issue of Social Justice Journal, “Community Accountability: Emerging Movements to Transform Violence.” Her article, “Morphing War into Magic: The Story of the Border Fence Mural, a Community Art Project in Calexico/Mexicali,” appears in Aztlán’s special issue on the 25thanniversary of Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera. Her poem, “My Love is not Perfect” appears in Sinister Wisdom’s award-winning collection Latina Lesbian. She is a long-term community organizer who teaches toward decolonial and abolitionist futures in Chican@ Studies at UC Davis. Clarissa is an internationally published poet who believes in caracoles and trusts the creative spirit.

NACCS 43: Chicana Plenary Speakers

Chicana Activism: Tools for Restorative and Transformative Justice.”

Across time and space, Chicanas have intervened and strenghtened freedom struggles by disrupting sexism, heteropatriarchy, and heteropatriarchal violence. Chicanas not only advocate for women’s rights, but also ensure that Chicana/o liberation means freedom for all members of the community. To that end, Chicanas continue to devise critical methods for addressing historical trauma and working to heal ourselves and our communities in multiple spaces. The 2016 NACCS Chicana Caucus Plenary underscores macro and micro perspectives of the many ways in which Chicanas facilitate transformative justice and provide vital tools for personal and collective restoration.


Elisa Facio, Eastern Washington University

Undocu-Queer Women’s Efforts in Eradicating Hetero-patriarchal Violence in Washington state.”

FacioE_08bElisa Facio is Director of the Chicana/Chicano Education Program and Professor of Chicana/Chicano Studies at Eastern Washington University. In addition, she is the Executive Director of the Race and Culture Studies major and minor. Elisa’s areas of teaching and research include Chicana Feminist Thought, Indigena Chicana spiritualities, transnational issues related to gender, race, and sexuality in Cuba, and age, aging and generations. Elisa received her B.A. with honors in sociology from Santa Clara University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Elisa’s academic work is published in anthologies, academic journals, encyclopedias, and her book on older Chicana/Mexican women titled Understanding Older Chicanas: Sociological and Policy Perspectives was published by SAGE (1996). She co-edited anthology with Dr. Irene Lara, Fleshing the Spirit, Spiriting the Flesh was published by the University of Arizona Press (2014). And, she is also a contributing author to the collection.

Martha Raquel Gonzales,California State University, San Marcos

“Holding each other Accountable: Confronting Violence in Community Settings.”

Martha Gonzales.NACCS Pic Martha Raquel Gonzales, born and raised in Los Angeles, balances her life and time between holding a joint position as an Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies and Liberal Studies at California State University, San Marcos and as member of Mujeres de Maiz (MdM). Her current research interests include Xicana feminisms, women’s spirituality, and critical education, which are anchored in her involvement with MdM. She has worked with MdM over the years to transform spaces by hosting the Annual Live Art Shows, creating ephemeral ambiences, assisting with zine editing, and currently co-editing MdM’s book project Mujeres de Maiz: A 20 Year Retrospective.


Audrey Silvestre, UCLA, Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies
Nadia Zepeda, UCLA, Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies

“Chicana Feminist Praxis: Tactics to Transform Heteropatriarchal Universities Through Community Accountability.”

A.Silvestre.BioImage1Audrey Silvestre is a queer feminist from Los Angeles, California. Her research interest includes thinking about the production of gender, racial and sexual assemblages through immigration discourse/movements in relation to the prison industrial complex. Audrey is part of the editorial collective at The Feminist Wire and currently is devoting her time and passion towards the revitalization of Third Woman Press. She is a member of the MALCS Ad-Hoc Committee on Heteropatriarchal Institutional Violence that addresses violence within the university and Chicanx Studies. She a first-year doctoral student at the Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCLA.



nadia zepeda pictureNadia Zepeda is a queer Chicana feminist born and raised in Santa Ana, CA.  Her primary focus in study looks at queer feminist of color collective formations. Currently, she is doing oral histories about Chicana spiritual practices and healing collectives. Nadia is a member of the MALCS Ad Hoc Committee on Institutional Violence that addresses issues on institutional violence in the Chicanx Studies and the university. She is currently a doctoral student in the Cesar E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCLA.

NACCS 43: Student Awards

Cervantes Premio


Esther Díaz Martín,
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
The University of Texas at Austin
“Contestaciones: The Music Genre of Cyber-Hociconas”


Ruben Zecena,
Washington State University
“Learning Where to Listen: Examining Third Space Activism in Times of Neoliberal”

Immigrant Student Becas

Chantiri Ramirez Resendiz, UCLA Graduate Student

Griselda Madrigal Lara, CSU Sonoma, Undergraduate Student

Margarita Garcia-Villa, SJSU Graduate Student

Marisela Hernández, Chico State University, Undergraduate Student

Gabriela E. Zamora-Muñoz, University of Utah, Undergraduate

Student Presenter Housing Subsidy Fellows

Joel Zapata, SMU, Tejas, Grad

Patricia Ayala Macias, Sonoma State, NCAL, UG

Griselda Madrigal Lara, Sonoma State, NCAL, UG

Ruth Hernandez, UCONN, EC, GR

Yolanda Ayala, NCAL, UG

Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza, Cal Poly SLO, SCAL,  UG

Laura J Ramírez, U Illinois Chicago, MW, GR

Enrique Garcia Searcy, UA Cd. Juarez, Mexico, GR

Ashley Faytol, WSU, PNW, GR

Rosabel Marcos, UMKC, MW, UG

Belinda Martinez, UMKC, MW, UG

Itzel Delgado-Gonzalez, Haverford College, EC, UG

Karla Vega, UMKC, MW, UG

Daphne Ruiz, Fullerton College, SCAL,UG



Colorado FOCO Community Awards

American GI Forum Mile Hi Chapter

The American GI Forum is one of the oldest civil rights organizations in our country, founded in 1948 by Dr. Hector P. Garcia to address the problem of discrimination and inequities faced by Mexican-Americans returning from World War II. The American GI Forum Mile Hi Chapter and the Chicana/o Movement will forever be inextricably intertwined. In 1966, the Mile Hi Chapter sparked the Coors boycott to address larger issues, including the hiring of more Chicana/os, support for the UFW grape boycott and the creation of the Chicana/o Studies Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Today, the GI Forum continues its work to enhance our community. Recent activities include a month dedicated to the celebration of our history, a theatrical troupe, the Mile Hi Players, community forums, testifying at legislative committee hearings, providing graveside services for veterans in need of a honor guard, and awarding scholarships to college bound youth. Our Youth Committee actively organizes fundraisers for scholarships, sponsors car shows, volunteers at Denver Health’s Newborns in Need Project, and works with the Del Norte Veterans Apartments to provide needed services. Volunteerism is the lifeblood of the Mile Hi Chapter. In 2015, we logged over 7,000 hours of volunteer work. We embrace the lofty ideals of the Chicana/o Movement, including the redress for grievances and community issues; meaningful immigration reform; the end to discrimination and to obtain social and political power through education and political action. We are part of the Hispanic Community and have heeded the lessons of those who founded the organization and the lessons of the Chicana/o Movement.

César Chávez Peace and Justice Committee of Denver

The César Chávez Peace and Justice Committee of Denver (CCPJCD) was founded 15 years ago to organize an event honoring Chávez’ legacy in the City and County of Denver. The group, now under the auspices of the Adolescent Counseling Exchange, developed a mission statement consistent with the values and work practiced by Chávez and the United Farm Workers (UFW) that includes support for labor struggles, youth education, leadership awards, and a march. CCPJCD worked to get the name of a park in North Denver changed to the César E. Chávez Park. CCPJCD collaborates with several unions and an array of nonprofit organizations to plan and implement the annual march that has resulted in a coalition of supporters from all sectors of Denver. CCPJCD also interfaces with school districts and offers poetry contests and educational workshops for middle and high school students. The organization has been a vocal supporter of the national movement to create a national holiday for César E. Chávez with California’s United Farm Workers. Most recently, CCPJCD has collaborated with Morrison Street community group to change the name of the street to César E. Chávez Boulevard and funded the creation of a mural in West Denver and the creation of a bust of César E. Chávez in the park created by nationally famed artist and sculptor Emanuel Martinez. Lastly, CCPJCD has developed a cadre of upcoming young leaders that are politically involved in the many issues that affect all communities.


Luis Jiménez: Artwork in Denver

Horse500[1]by Dr. Eric Castillo

Luis Jiménez was a titan in the art world; his monumental sculptures and poignant lithographs reveal his commitment for a shared humanity as well as provide a platform for his social and artistic agendas. Jiménez’s art combined European artistic practices and Chicana/o vernacular aesthetics. His innovative use of fiberglass materials and archetypal themes position his unique perspective within formalized discussions in art history. His ability to cross over into the American art scene enabled him to cross borders historically closed off to artists of color.

Jiménez’s art critically examined regional and national politics and offered an understanding about American art that is hybrid, differential, and contingent, rather than pure or monolithic. Differentiated by his style politics and motivated by his sociocultural interventions, Jiménez authored unique methods that engaged with contemporary time.

In 1991, Jiménez was offered a commission by the Denver International Airport to complete a sculpture that would reflect the life and experiences of the Southwest. Initially designed for Terminal C inside of the airport, Jiménez proposed a large-scale version of a mustang; he felt the sculpture would pay tribute to this country’s historic relationship with the horse:

What I’ve proposed for Denver is a mustang scenic overlook. I am also proposing a series of plaques tracing the history of the American mustang from the original reintroduction of the horse by the Spaniards, to the Indian pony that they developed from the mustang, then the American cow pony and quarter horse that was developed from mustangs (1994 160).

Designed to frame downtown Denver, Pike’s Peak, and the mountains, Mesteño would have signified a magnificent accomplishment for Jiménez. Completing a monumental piece at a public venue meant he would leave his mark in the art world.

As the largest public artwork of his career, the 32-foot bucking bronco titled Mesteño was designed to be free standing on its hind two legs. Mesteño’s electric blue color, fiery red light bulb eyes, and black veins would course its body, towering over the mile-high landscape while framing the electric sunset and the Colorado Rockies.

In a 1999 interview for ARTLIES magazine, Jiménez informed interviewer Susie Kalil the prospects of such a tremendous commission, stating he was experiencing burnout from the DIA project. “We all have burnout…” Jiménez stated; “And I have burnout, especially on these large pieces. I have a piece that I haven’t delivered for Denver. I keep asking myself why it’s taking so long to do it” (56). Jiménez’s older age and blindness in his left eye were of primary concern: “I’m not as strong as I used to be! And I don’t have the energy to go three days in a row without sleep like I used to!” (ibid).

On June 13th, 2006 Jiménez passed away in the midst of completing the Mesteño. Pressed for time, Jiménez attempted to complete the torso but the massive piece had little structural support without the crane. In one swift movement, the sculpture fell off the metal structure, crushing Jiménez against the reinforcement bar. Writhing in agony, he called out for help; the two assistants rushed to him, pushing the fiberglass sculpture aside. Jiménez was rushed off to Lincoln County Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead (Rancho las Voces 2006). News of his death spread quickly as his family, friends, and art community mourned the loss of one of the most significant American artists of our time. Memorial services across the country honored Jiménez, celebrating the success of a passion artist whose vision enlightened and transformed the visual iconography of U.S. culture.

On February 11, 2008 Mesteño was installed along Peña Boulevard in a private ceremony where art collectors, journalists, politicians, and Jiménez’s family gathered to celebrate the monument. Portrayed by many as Luis Jiménez’s crowing achievement, Mesteño signified a large-scale intervention in the field of Western art. But artist Luis Jiménez’s true crowning achievement was not in one single piece of art, but in the cadre of art he created that helped redefine American art and identity.

Unwelcomed and unappreciated by many Denver residents and art critics for its “apocalyptic, devilish” look and its extremely high price tag, Mesteño was also praised and celebrated by communities across Denver and the Southwest for its revisionism. Luis Jiménez saw something much greater than just a blue mustang when he created the sculpture; this monument memorialized an important actor in creating the U.S. West.

A Chicano artist who successfully crossed over into the American art world, Luis Jiménez profoundly influenced the Pop art scene, Chicana/o art, U.S. sculpture, and Western iconography. Raised in a life that was surrounded by borders–geographical, cultural, political, and social–he was able to produce images that transcended these borders and showed the intercultural, transnational history of his life and the United States. Unafraid of the consequences of transgressing these borders, Luis Jiménez made it acceptable for people to understand American identity as something hybrid and ever changing.

Eric Castillo picDr. Eric Castillo is the Assistant Dean and Campus Director for the School of Professional and Continuing Studies at Springfield College in Houston, Tejas. As a social justice educator and administrator, Dr. Castillo works on narrowing the achievement gap between historically disenfranchised populations and higher education.

Local Venues and Events in Denver

Place to Go in Denver and Surrounding Areas

Cultural Night Friday April  8, 2016, 700pm-1000pm

The History Colorado Center, Shuttle Service will be provided.

Cultural NIght Logo

Conference Tour

15th Annual Cesar Chavez March Saturday, April 9, 2016 Sign up Required – Free – sign up available soon. 8:30 a.m. pick up from hotel. 1:30 p.m. return to hotel. The theme for the march this year is “Honorando Las Mujeres en la Lucha.” Buses will transport conference participants to Regis University where the march begins. A Catholic Mass at 9 a.m. opens (optional). From Regis University the march walks towards Cesar E. Chavez Park, about 2.5 miles. At the park, there is music, danzantes, food, speakers and leadership awards. Participants will be back at the hotel around 2 pm. RSVP/Contact Ramon at

Venues/Events and Organizations – Times are from Conference Cite

Chicano Humanities Arts Council – (3030) 571-0440 – – 20 min-car

Poetry-Spoken-Word – Café Cultura – 2nd Friday of every month

5 K – Races Denver

Mother Cabrini – No Bus – 45 min from Double-Tree – Sacred Grounds

The Market – Downtown Denver Coffee House – Excellent

Museo de las Américas – (303) 571- 4401 – 20 min car

Whiskey Tours Stranahans: Colorado born Whiskey – (303) 296- 7448 –

A new exhibit, curated by Arturo J. Aldama on Chican@ history in the Southwest is open for viewing in the Norlin Library at CU Boulder: highlights include the history of racism and white supremacy, Chicana leadership and social justice, and the history of Chican@ student activism at CU Boulder including a history of “los seis”, martyrs of the Chican@ movement. LINK TO FLYER

Su Teatro Logo Film Fest[2]


“NAACS Conference attendees get 2fer movie tickets and 2fers at the bar.  Su Teatro invites you to enjoy Denver’s premier Latino Film Festival.  The XicanIndie FilmFest,  April 7th-10,, 2016, for screening schedule and parties.”



Children Venues:

Denver Zoo – 10 min car

Denver Botanic Gardens – 15 min car

Indian Hot Springs – 52 min by car from hotel

Colorado Rockies Baseball – vs San Diego


Hotel Reservations at Denver DoubleTree

Welcome to the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies reservation information page


A block of rooms have been reserved for April 4, 2016 – April 10, 2016. The special room rate will be available until March 26th or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first.

Booking a reservation from our site is simple. To begin the process, click on “Book a Room” below to receive your group’s preferred rate.

See you at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Denver in April! We hope you enjoy your stay and your group’s event!