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Valleywide Focus

Stories Drive CSUN Immigration Forum

November 18, 1994|MAKI BECKER

To address issues of immigration and immigrant culture in Los Angeles, Cal State Northridge is holding a public forum Dec. 1 centered around three short stories written by authors representing the Latino, Asian American and African American communities.

Journalist, poet and television host Ruben Martinez will lead a panel discussion, "So What Brings You Here? Three Stories of Los Angeles Immigrant Communities."

John Swift, professor of English at Occidental College, and Timothy Fong, professor of Asian American studies at CSUN, also will participate.

The stories--Chester Himes' "Lunching at the Ritzmore," Helena Maria Viramontes' "Cariboo Cafe" and Kim Ronyoung's "Clay Walls"--will be used as a means to stimulate dialogue about immigration and race.

Free copies of the stories are available by calling CSUN's School of Humanities.

"We all have a distinct lack of understanding. We kind of talk behind these kinds of barriers," said Mark Rocha, associate dean of humanities at CSUN and the forum's coordinator.

"I think the thing that is different about this is that we are encouraging participation within the university and outside the university," Rocha said, adding that he has contacted local bookstores and libraries about the forum and distributed free copies of the stories to them.

As the forum was being planned by CSUN's Northridge Faculty Study Group for Intercultural Understanding before the passage of the controversial Proposition 187, Rocha said the event will be timely.

"We obviously need to do some things toward healing rather than this sort of divisive kind of rhetoric that we keep throwing at each other," he said.

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