Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Bracero exhibit at Regis
The word bracero is derived from the Spanish word brazos meaning 'arms.' Braceros worked with thier arms, their strong arms harvesting the fields of America's west from 1942-1964. The Dayton Memorial Library at Regis University, in partnership with the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, hosts this fascinating exhibit of this part of US/Mexican history from August 18---October 28. The braceros also worked for railroads and maintained tracks. The library is open until 12 midnight now for the semester since the students are flocking back to campus for another exciting year. So there is no excuse that you could not find time to come to the library. The Regis exhibit commemorates the 70th anniversary of the start of the Bracero Program in Colorado. The exhibit is entitled "Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program 1942-1964," and traces the history of the program which engaged nearly 5 million Mexican workers to come to the US and work in agriculture. Pictures on the Smithsonian traveling panels offer a wide range of memories of this almost now forgotten part of American history. Workers look out from the pictures with strength and pride and love of hard work. The US unilaterally ended the program because many felt that these workers took jobs away from American workers. Professor Ramon Del castillo wrote a poem for the exhibit and read it with passion. Dr. Nikki Gonzales, Regis professor and daughter of Chief Joe Gonzales of the Denver Fire Department, headed up the Regis side of the exhibit. Fr. John P. FitzGibbons, S. J., the new president of Regis, reminded the crowd that Regis was proud to host this exhibit. He then quoted from the psalms about helping those most in need and respecting the foreigners in our midst. Fr. FitzGibbons's words showed us how the exhibit speaks out to us today. Dr. Charles Collins, University of Northern Colorado, mused at the opening of the exhibit aboutf his experiences with braceros who worked on his family's farm in Greeley. Interested folks will have another chance to hear Dr. Collins talk further on Thursday, August 30th at Casa Mayan House, 1020 9th Street Historic Park on Auraria Campus. 12:30-1:30 PM. Regis is sponsoring several other speakers and panels throughout the semester. You can check it out at www.regis.edu/exhibit. I hope you will embrace the Bracero Exhibit at Regis. While you are in the library, visit the Santo Chapel on the 3rd floor holding some of the finest religious Santo art in the country. Tell all your amigos.