Latino/Latin American Studies

The Latino/Latin American Studies minor consists of 20 credits of interdisciplinary coursework. This study of the Americas is appropriate for all students, especially those majoring in History, Hispanic Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Theology, and Global Business.

Spring 2023 Series: Labor Perspectives/Perspectives of Labor

For more information please see our Spring Series Poster

LLAS 270 

Students who plan to attend all three events are invited to register for LLAS 270, for either 1 or 0 credit, on an S/U basis. Participants in LLAS 270 will attend three events (see attached poster) and will have the opportunity to participate in the design and production of a mural. The theme and design for this mural will connect the Benedictine value of the dignity of work to the experiences, perspectives, and struggles of working people. Our exploration of the theme of Labor will involve listening, reflection, and conversation about how labor makes our world, about how labor is often made invisible, and about what is required for labor to be honored and recognized.

There is no classroom meeting schedule for LLAS 270, just the scheduled public events, some participation in online conversation via Canvas, and the occasional informal gathering. Please contact Dr. Bruce Campbell, Director of the Latino/Latin American Studies program at [email protected], if you have any questions.

Communities Organizing Latinx Power and Action (COPAL):
Workers Center Initiative to Improve Life
for Latin American Families in Minnesota

Monday, February 6, 2023 at 7:00 PM
Multicultural Center, CSB

Today in Minnesota, immigrants not only face systemic barriers, but have also been disproportionately affected by the health and economic effects of COVID-19. Recent studies indicate that Black, Indigenous, and BIPOC communities are most negatively impacted as a result of the pandemic, with African and Latino communities at the top of this list. While these groups faced economic disparities long before the arrival of the pandemic, the health crisis has shed light on how much these conditions have worsened. All these factors have driven COPAL, a community-led organization, to develop the Workers' Centers based in Minneapolis to address the immediate and long-term economic challenges of Latinx communities. The Workers' Center focuses on connecting communities to jobs and workforce trainings, educating and advocating for worker's rights, and developing systems to support the equitable creation of wealth for individuals and small businesses.

COPAL is a grassroots organization established in 2018 with a mission to build racial, gender, social, and economic justice for the Latinx community in Minnesota. COPAL’s mission is to unite Latinos in Minnesota in a community democracy that builds racial, gender, social and economic justice. The vision is to build a world that is fair, equitable, pleasant and environmentally sustainable for all.

Claudia Lainez is the Workers' Center Coordinator. She grew up in El Salvador during the Civil War. At the age of 17, Claudia immigrated to the United States. Formerly an organizer with the National Temporary Protected Status Alliance (NTPSA), Claudia has dedicated much of her life to fighting the injustices faced by TPS holders and undocumented immigrants. Through NTPSA, Claudia learned of COPAL and moved to Minnesota from California to work at our Workers’ Center. 

Ally Wilson is the Education Coordinator for the Workers Center. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic studies and mathematics. She spent half of the past year volunteering in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico with Centro Infantil de Los Angeles—a preschool that provides free high-quality education to families in need. She spent the other half of the year volunteering in Granada, Nicaragua with Opportunity International Nicaragua—a nonprofit focused on ending poverty through community economic development. Her studies and time volunteering developed her passion for enacting positive social change through education. Today, she looks forward to working with COPAL to provide classes that equip people with the proper tools and information to achieve their goals.

Infiltrate, Agitate, Create:
Latinx Feminist Perspectives on Building Social Justice
In and Beyond the Neoliberal Non-Profit System
Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 7:00 PM 

Multicultural Center, CSB

 What does it mean to build social justice? And what does it look like in and beyond the neoliberal non-profit system? This talk explores how Latinx community workers and activists in Tkaronto (Toronto, Canada) grapple with these questions as they seek to build social justice by working across various non-profit organizations and grassroots collectives. Engaging with the stories Latinx community workers and activists have shared with her over the last eight years, Dr. Cahuas demonstrates how these workers mobilize a Latinx feminist praxis that infiltrates neoliberal non-profit organizations, agitates the status quo and creates alternative spaces of political education, care, friendship, joy, and solidarity that are crucial for sustaining social justice movements. Dr. Cahuas's presentation considers how such a Latinx feminist praxis can inform struggles for social justice in our current political moment.

Dr. Madelaine Cristina Cahuas is a Latina feminist geographer from Tkaronto (Toronto, Canada) studying Latinx urban politics, place-making, care work and activism. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment & Society at the University of Minnesota. Her work has been published in various journals including, Gender, Place and CultureAntipode: A Radical Journal of GeographyEnvironment and Planning D: Society & Space and Studies in Social Justice. She is co-founder of the Latinx Geographies Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers and is deeply committed to advancing social justice in education and research. 

What is Muralism? 
Labor, Social Justice, and Cultural Identity
through Visual Storytelling
Monday, April 17, 2023 at 7:00 PM
Multicultural Center, CSB

On the centennial of the Mexican Muralist movement, Aaron Johnson-Ortiz will share the past, present, and future of Muralism as an art movement and as a social, political, and cultural phenomenon, with specific highlights from Mexican and Latin American history, his own art practice, and Muralism history in Minnesota. 

Aaron Johnson-Oritz is a Mexican, Latino, and Mexican-American cultural organizer, arts advocate, and award-winning (Neo)Muralist based in Minnesota.  His art focuses on workers’ rights, immigrant rights, Latino culture, and Mexican identity.  His “Workers United In Struggle” mural was named the 2018 “Best Mural” in the Twin Cities by City Pages. 

Currently, Aaron is Executive Director and Founder of (Neo)Muralismos de México, one of the few public arts organization in the US that is dedicated to revitalizing and reclaiming the Mexican origins of Muralism as an art movement.  Aaron is also a founding member of the Mexican Cultural Arts Alliance (MCAA), the only bi-national (US/Mexico) professional development and partnership-building organization for emerging Mexican-focused arts administrators and organizations.  Previously, Aaron served as Director of Arts & Cultural Engagement at CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio), where he developed Minnesota’s largest Latino-focused arts program.