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Symposium 2018: Distinguished Speaker Sonia Manzano

2018 E. James Holland Symposium on American Values

“Latina/o Representation in the Media, Civil Rights and American Values” Distinguished Speaker: Sonia Manzano

Growing up in the 1950s, Sonia Manzano watched a lot of television, but rarely saw Latina/o faces or culture represented. “Where did Latinas like her fit in American society?” she wondered. As an actor on the long-running children’s public television program, “Sesame Street,” she became the model she wished she had growing up. Arriving on the set of the show in 1971, Manzano used her character, “Maria,” and later on, her position as one of “Sesame Street’s” writers to ensure Latina/os and women were represented in ways that promoted positive self-image and intercultural understanding.

In her keynote address, Manzano will discuss her career and highlight civil rights efforts to make media more representative of American culture. Additionally, she will emphasize the importance that media can make in promoting cultural pride and social tolerance.