CM attends- In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez

Ofelia Vásquez-Philo introduces Juan Ramón Palomo


In the spring of 2015 we were invited to attend the opening of “In His Own Words,” César Chávez Exhibit Opening Reception” at Centro Cultural  Hispano de San Marcos in San Marcos, Tx.  We found out about this event through Facebook as Juan Ramón Palomo, the speaker for the reception, is Corina Zavala’s uncle.

Centro Cultural  Hispano de San Marcos

We had never heard of the Centro Cultural  Hispano de San Marcos, but as soon as we found out about it, we wanted to know more.  So Joey Lopez and Corina Zavala went to document the opening and the talk.  The mission of the Centro Cultural  Hispano de San Marcos is as follows:

“To serve as a community beacon for the preservation, development, promotion, and celebration of the Hispanic arts, culture, heritage, and values.

“Centro’s programs and educational curriculum include the areas of visual arts, theater, dance, literature, music, multimedia, and the culinary arts. These vibrant educational classes and interactive events for children, adults, families, and diverse audiences take place throughout the year.”

When we arrived we found the community to be very open and happy to see newcomers.  As we would come to learn, the space they are currently housed in used to be an elementary school that served the San Marcos community for many years and has since been leased to the non-profit.  As we walked in we were treated to some wonderful acoustic electric guitar playing by César Gómez.

It was really cool to learn that the exhibit was actually throughout the whole space, which led the attendees to walk throughout the spaces and see other exhibits and spaces that Hispano De San Marcos have curated and promoted over the years.

Humanities Texas

Which brings us to the exhibit itself In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez was provided by the Humanities Texas an organization.

“Humanities Texas advances heritage, culture, and education. As the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, we conduct and support public programs in history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines. These programs strengthen Texas communities by cultivating the knowledge and judgment that representative democracy demands of its citizens.

“Humanities Texas is one of fifty-six nonprofit state and jurisdictional humanities councils in the U.S. We are a nonprofit, educational organization founded in 1973, supported by appropriations from the U.S. Congress and the state of Texas and by gifts and grants from foundations, corporations, and individuals. A volunteer board governs the organization.”

We were delighted to learn that Humanities Texas provides low cost exhibits for use by various non-profits at reasonable rates to encourage awareness of various educational topics.  It is great to see multiple non-profits working together to bring Texas communities powerful programing.

A display at the Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos featuring Juan Ramón Palomo’s life.


Juan Ramón Palomo

A pursuit of higher education brought Juan Ramón Palomo to Texas State University and the San Marcos community.

“Palomo worked in the newspaper business for more than 20 years. He worked most of those years for the now-defunct Houston Post, as a general assignment reporter, political reporter, foreign correspondent, Washington correspondent, columnist and editorial writer. He got his start as a newspaperman at La Otra Voz, a newspaper serving the Latino community of San Marcos, and later was a reporter and editor of The Hays County Citizen.

Following the closing of The Houston Post, Palomo covered religion for the Austin American Statesman for several years and wrote a monthly op-ed column for USA TODAY as a member of that newspaper’s Board of Contributors. In 1998, he left journalism and moved to Washington to become a communications advisor for the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Born in North Dakota to migrant-worker parents, Palomo grew up in South Texas and obtained a Bachelor of Science in art education from Texas State University. He was an art instructor at San Marcos High School for two years before moving into journalism. Later, he received a Master of Arts degree in journalism and public affairs from The American University in Washington.

As a journalist, he won numerous awards, including the top three Texas awards for editorial writing in 1992.

Since retiring from API in 2011, Palomo has lived in Houston where he pursues his interests in art, writing and traveling.”

Centro Cultural  Hispano de San Marcos FB Page

For the convergent media collective members, we go further back than just this talk with Juan Palomo. He aided us in the summer of 2014 when we visited Houston Texas to conduct research for Converging Texan Cultures. His positive influence and support of our group is amazing.

Hearing his speech at this opening was truly eye-opening and something that has inspired us and, as you will hear in the video, the community as well.  His speech takes us on a journey of appreciation for not only the work César did, but for the workers of the migrant farmworkers movement and the struggle to exist with dignity and an identity.

We would like to thank Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos, Humanities Texas and Juan Ramón Palomo for providing the community with an inspiring experience.

We look forward to future collaborations with the San Marcos community and hope to bring a wide awareness of the great things that are happening there.


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