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Luis Gutierrez
Luis Gutierrez

U. S. CONGRESSMAN, AUTHOR, AND CHAMPION OF IMMIGRANT CIVIL RIGHTS, TO SPEAK

NYS Writers Institute, October 18, 2013
7:00 p.m. Reading | Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
[Note early start time]

 


CALENDAR LISTING:

Luis Gutierrez (D-IL-4), former UAlbany student, eleven-term U. S. Congressman from Illinois, and one of America’s preeminent champions of immigration reform and Latino civil rights, will speak about his new autobiography, Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill (2013), on Friday, October 18, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. [note early start time] in the Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center, on the University at Albany uptown campus. The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with UAlbany’s Homecoming, Reunion and Family Weekend.

 

PROFILE
Luis Gutierrez
(D-IL-4), eleven-term U. S. Congressman from Illinois, and one of America’s preeminent champions of immigration reform and Latino civil rights, spent part of his formative years as a student at UAlbany. He is known to his supporters as “El Gallito” (“The Little Rooster”) for his passionate oratory and willingness to fight for worthy causes. A 2010 Pew Hispanic Center survey ranked Gutierrez as the second-most-important Latino leader in the country, after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  In a profile of Gutierrez that appeared in the November 29, 2010 issue of Newsweek, Frank Sharry, founder of the pro-immigrant group America’s Voice, said, “He’s as close as the Latino community has to a Martin Luther King figure.”

Still DreamingGutierrez is the author of a new autobiography, Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill (2013). Honest and often hilarious, the book recounts his rise from teacher, social worker, cab driver, and community activist to one of the most influential members of Congress. Kirkus Reviews calls it a “straight-shooting, spirited memoir….  Funny, feisty and heartfelt.”  Publishers Weekly calls it, “Honest and informative… rendered with great detail.” In advance praise, former U. S. Senator Bill Bradley said, “Read Still Dreaming and you’ll feel better about America. Luis Gutierrez— a man full of passion, humor, and fascinating insights—has never forgotten where he came from, even as he has ascended to the highest levels of public power. His perspective on himself and his battles enlightens even as it entertains. Make no mistake, this is the story of an extraordinary American.”

Born and raised in the working class Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, Gutierrez was a freshman in high school when his parents decided to move the family back to their home city of San Sebastián, Puerto Rico. Gutierrez graduated high school and attended the University of Puerto Rico where, at the end of his sophomore year, he applied to a college exchange program with the State University of New York, and received a one-year placement at SUNY Albany (1973-74). The following year, he returned to Chicago and eventually completed a degree in English at Northeastern University in 1977.

Gutierrez describes his year in Albany as a personally transformative experience. He resided in the “international dorm,” which he calls “a laboratory of cultures and peoples.” He says, “Meeting new people was exposing me to whole new points of view.” Educated in socially conservative Puerto Rico where “girls were stored safely in their own dorms as if in a vault,” Gutierrez is very impressed by the freedoms women enjoy at UAlbany. He also devotes several paragraphs to his intellectually stimulating interactions with three Israeli exchange students—conversations that helped him clarify his own goals and aspirations as a young advocate for Puerto Rican independence.

Gutierrez is a leader of the Hispanic Caucus. He serves currently on the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittees on Immigration and Border Security; and Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.