EastBay Today

Posted September 13, 2019

Building Dreams Not Walls

Cal State East Bay celebrates Latinx month with author, inspirational speaker Reyna Grande

Author and inspirational speaker Reyna Grande will be at Cal State East Bay Sept. 19.
Ara Arbabzadeh

Award-winning author and inspirational speaker Reyna Grande will kick off Cal State East Bay’s celebration of Latinx month on Sept. 19 at the Diversity and Inclusion Student Center.

Born in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico, Grande was 2 years old when her father left for work in the U.S. Two years later, her mother followed leaving Grande and her siblings behind in Mexico. But just a few years later, she left Mexico herself, traveling north and entering the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. 

Cultural Months 2019-20

This year, Cal State East Bay will be celebrating a different culture or heritage each month. Activities will include speakers, artists and authors who will strive to not only discuss their work, but engage the community in a dialogue about each month’s theme. In addition, various faculty members will host each month’s speakers in their classrooms, giving students a chance to explore the themes in a smaller group. Upcoming months include: Accessibility month (October) and Native Awareness month (November). Watch East Bay Today and the DISC website for more information.

The first in her family to graduate college, Grande has built a life of writing about her experiences before and after immigrating from Mexico. 

Her best-selling memoir, “The Distance Between Us” received numerous awards including the Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature as well as the 2016 Eureka! Honor Awards from the California Reading Association.  

In her presentation at Cal State East Bay, Grande will discuss her latest work, “A Dream Called Home,” and how it relates to the Latinx month theme “Building Dreams Not Walls.” 

University Diversity Officer Kimberly Baker-Flowers said she hopes Grande’s story will resonate with the campus’ community, especially students.

“Her journey is inspirational and it is one that many of our students are currently navigating,” Baker-Flowers said. “Reyna’s humbleness, perseverance and graciousness are all characteristics that are reflective of our community and her success is an inspiration.” 

Baker-Flowers added she hopes attendees leave the presentation inspired and take advantage of the opportunity to have a community dialogue with her. 

“This is an exciting and special opportunity for us,” Baker-Flowers said. 

Reyna Grande will speak on Sept. 19 from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in University Union 311. The event is free and open to the public.