Mount Wachusett Community College is pleased to announce the return of the Tea Time Speaker Series on Friday, September 23, 2022 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm with “Grito de Lares / Puerto Rican Independence” at the college’s Gardner campus.
September 23, 1868 marks Puerto Rico’s official declaration of independence from Spain, which led the island on the path to independence until the US invaded it in 1989. The “Grito de Lares” presentation will focus on the historic relationship between Puerto Rico/Puerto Ricans and the United States government and the ongoing struggle to end colonialism in Puerto Rico and within the mainland US.
Hosting the event will be Irene Hernandez, a longtime community activist with a background in social work. Hernandez is currently the program director at Active Life Adult Day Health Center. Prior to Active Life, Irene worked as the program coordinator for Fitchburg Community Connections Coalition and served for many years as the assistant to the former mayor of Fitchburg and served as a project manager for the Charles E. Shannon CSI Grant/Tri-City Anti-Gang Violence program for the cities of Fitchburg, Leominster, and Gardner.
The lecture will be given by David Thibault-Munoz. Thibault-Munoz has been an educator, organizer and activist for the past twenty years. He was an active member of the National Boricua Human Rights Network between 2000-2018 and taught Puerto Rican History 1898-present at the Dr. Pedro Albizu-Campos High School located in Chicago between 2002-2005. Between 2006-2018, David brought the play Crimes Against Humanity, depicting the lives and experience of Puerto Rican political prisoners to venues in Leominster, Worcester, Holyoke and Lawrence in order to bring light to the situations and cases of the remaining Puerto Rican political prisoners, and organized events surrounding Puerto Rican history and culture at many community venues in Fitchburg, MA, including two large events held at the Fitchburg Art Museum.
In addition to the lecture, the band Bomba de Aqui Bomba y Plena will perform traditional Afro-Puerto Rican dance and drumming.
This event is sponsored by the Spanish-American Center, Gateway to College, the President’s Office at Mount Wachusett Community College, Three Pyramids Inc./Minority Coalition, Heywood Healthcare DEI Committee, CHNA9, the International Center for the Promotion of Diversity and Inclusion, and Rollstone Bank and Trust.
Sharmese Gunn is the creator of the nationally recognized Tea Time Speaker Series. The goal of the “Tea Time Speaker Series” is to create monthly dialogue that engages the college community and community members in conversations around diverse issues that are current in our community and society. Tea Time will reinforce cultural awareness within the college community, acknowledge differences, and create healthy dialogue around diverse conversations.