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How do you write and portray the story of a visionary figure who founded a labor union, launched a movement, and inspired a generation? Biographer Miriam Pawel and playwright/director Luis Valdez (Teatro Campesino) lend their perspective on the crusades of an unlikely American hero who ignited one of the great social movements of our time.

Luis Valdez

Luis Valdez

Luis Valdez is a playwright and founding artistic director of El Teatro Campesino (The Farm Workers’ Theater), the internationally renowned theater company founded on the picket lines of the Delano grape strike in 1965 and still in operation in San Juan Bautista, CA, where it is the longest running Chicano Theater in the United States. Valdez’s involvement with Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the early Chicano Movement left an indelible mark that remained embodied in all his work even after he left the UFW. Valdez’s influential Zoot Suit was the first Chicano play on Broadway. His numerous feature film and television credits include, among others, La Bamba, Cisco Kid, and Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution. Valdez is the recipient of countless awards including the prestigious George Peabody Award for excellence in television, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, the Governor’s Award OF the California Arts Council, and Mexico’s prestigious Aguila Azteca Award given to individuals whose work promotes cultural excellence and exchange between US and Mexico.

Laura Pulido

Laura Pulido

Laura Pulido is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She researches race, political activism, Chicana/o Studies, critical human geography, and Los Angeles. Pulido has done extensive work in the field of environmental justice, social movements, labor studies, and radical tourism.

Miriam Pawel

Miriam Pawel

Miriam Pawel is the author of the just-published book, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez, the first biography of the iconic founder of the United Farm Workers. Her earlier work, The Union of Their Dreams – Power, Hope and Struggle in Cesar Chavez’s Farm Worker Movement, was hailed as a nuanced, ground-breaking narrative of the movement. She is a Pultizer-prize winning editor who spent 25 years working for Newsday and the Los Angeles Times. She recieved a National Endowment for the Humanties fellowship to complete her work on the Chavez biography.

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