Dr. Juan Felipe Herrera, United States poet laureate-emeritus and former Fresno State professor, will be the keynote speaker for Fresno State’s 45th annual Chicano/a Youth Conference from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Satellite Student Union.

The registration deadline is Jan. 10. Register at https://csufresno-fwkfm.formstack.com/forms/cyc. Register early, because space often fills up prior to the deadline, said Walter Ramirez, a counselor in the Upward Bound program who coordinates the youth conference.

The annual January event features workshops about higher education, social justice, cultural awareness, leadership and careers, as well as speakers, live music, prizes and free food.

The conference, which draws about 1,000 participants, is free for high school and middle school students who can sign up through high school counselors, teachers and community members or use the registration link directly.

Herrera will speak from 9:15 to 9:45 a.m. Entertainment will be provided by Aztec dancers, break dancers, music by Una-Isu, poetry by Aideed Medina  and Los Danzantes de Aztlan.

Herrera, who currently is coordinator of the Laureate Lab located in the Madden Library at Fresno State, was a professor in Fresno State’s Chicano and Latin American Studies Department from 1990 to 2004. In 2015, he was appointed the United States’ 21st poet laureate, becoming the first Latino to hold the position. He was reappointed in April 2016 to a second one-year term. He also served as California poet laureate in 2012.

The majority of Herrera’s projects were meant to engage children and young adults with the spoken word. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.

The conference is a collaborative effort by Outreach and Special Programs, Upward Bound, The Dream Outreach Center, Cross Cultural and Gender Center – Latino/a Programs and Services, the Lyles College of Engineering, as well as student clubs MEChA, the Chicano and Latin American Studies Student Association, La Voz De Aztlan, Trabajadores De La Raza, Alpha Pi Sigma, Nu Alpha Kappa, and MOLE.

For more information, contact Walter Ramirez at 559.278.5347 or wramirez@mail.fresnostate.edu. Follow coverage at Twitter: @FresnoStateCYC.

(University Outreach media assistant Jennifer Madrigal contributed to this report. For media follow up: jennifermadrigal@mail.fresnostate.edu or fsnews@listserv.csufresno.edu).

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