The Julian Samora Research Institute, one of academia’s most respected voices for interdisciplinary research on Latinos in the Midwest and the U.S., is marking its 25th anniversary with a conference designed to celebrate, reflect and look ahead.
“Latinos in 2050: Restoring the Public Good” will take place Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at the East Lansing Marriott at University Place, with a schedule featuring distinguished speakers, music, art and sessions addressing issues critical to Latinos and communities across the United States.
When JSRI was established in 1989 by the MSU Board of Trustees, the purpose was to address the absence of systematic information and knowledge on Latino issues in the Midwest. Today JSRI remains committed to the original mandate, and has expanded efforts through research, community outreach initiatives and student mentorship.
Under the leadership of Rubén Martinez since 2007, JSRI’s series of statewide summits on Latino issues have identified and prioritized challenges such as education, immigration rights, health and health care, civic engagement, media portrayal of Latinos, economic development, jobs and employment, statewide advocacy, civic rights and discrimination issues.
“The accomplishments have been remarkable during the past 25 years. Even more significant is the pace that is bringing Latino issues to the forefront. The Latino population is increasing across the Midwest and the United States, and is projected to reach 30 percent of the total U.S. population by 2050,” said Martinez. “The JSRI team and our collaborative partners are prepared to focus on issues that affect the growing Latino population, such as health disparities, entrepreneurship, economic challenges and gaps in services to Latino communities.”
The namesake of JSRI was professor Julian Samora, a pioneer Mexican-American sociologist and research scholar who taught at MSU from 1957 to 1959. He worked tirelessly on Latino issues in the Midwest, and was committed to the ideal that research makes a contribution to the improvement of the well-being of Latinos, their families, and communities. Dr. Samora, Ernesto Galarza, and Herman Gallegos founded the Southwest Council of La Raza, the precursor to the National Council of La Raza, a leading national Latino advocacy organization.
During its 25-year history, JSRI has sustained Samora’s vision while working at the forefront of several initiatives to increase awareness of the histories, cultures and issues of concern for Latinos and immigrants.
JSRI was central to the development of the Midwest Consortium for Latino Research in the late 1980s, and worked with the Mexico-U.S. Consortium for Academic Cooperation, the Council on Western Hemispheric Studies, the Michigan Educational Opportunity Fund, and the Michigan Nutrition Network.
In recent years, JSRI has been instrumental in the establishment and work of the North Central Education/Extension and Research Activity, an interstate initiative across the 12 Midwestern states that encourages and fosters multidisciplinary research, education and outreach efforts on Latinos and immigrants in the Midwest.
The 25th anniversary conference features two prominent speakers with timely topics:
- 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Oct. 30: “The Undocumented and the DACA-mented: State and Federal Immigration-related Litigation and Legislation Concerning Higher Education” by Michael Olivas, William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law, University of Houston Law Center, and director, Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance
- 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Nov. 1: “The Chicano Rearview Mirror: Looking Back Fifty Years to See the Next Fifty” by José Ángel Gutiérrez, professor of political science, University of Texas at Arlington, and founder of the Center for Mexican American Studies
Other notable events include:
- 7:30 p.m., Oct. 30: Concert with Sones de México and the MSU Graduate Brass Quintet at Cook Recital Hall, MSU Music Building
- Latino Auto Workers Exhibit: “From the Margins to the Core.” Daily Hours are 9 a.m.―5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.―5 p.m. MSU Museum, 409 W. Circle Drive.
More information is available at the JSRI website.