CORVALLIS - A group of Oregon women have organized a conference that will look at issues affecting Northwest Chicanas and Latinas, ranging from gender identity to media images. The conference will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Woodburn High School.

Titled "Mujeres Despertando Conciencia (Awakening Consciousness for Women): A Conference for Chicanas and Latinas in the Pacific Northwest," the event is open to the public. Registration costs $20 for professionals and $10 for community members and students.

Edith Quiroz, an Oregon State University student, developed the idea for a conference several months ago and began working with Erlinda Gonzales-Berry, who chairs OSU's Department of Ethnic Studies. They linked with several other women from Oregon universities and communities to form a planning committee, and the idea was enthusiastically embraced.

"There have been other conferences that have brought Latinos and Chicanos together," Gonzales-Berry said, "but most of those have focused solely on education. We're focusing specifically on women and trying to be as broad as we can because there are a number of issues that are very important. We hope this conference will begin a conversation on women that cuts across all age and class divisions."

The conference will open with a keynote address by Michelle Serros, a New York author featured frequently on National Public Radio.

Blending humor into her presentations, Serros will address cultural and gender identity in her lecture.

Subsequent morning and afternoon sessions will look at a number of issues, including Latinas in politics, domestic violence, becoming active in the community, Chicana and Latina writers and artists, images of Latinas in the media, developing self-esteem among young Chicanas and Latinas, living in two cultures, the myth or reality of machismo, and sexual harassment.

The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Woodburn High School, located at 1785 N. Front St. in Woodburn. Persons interested in the conference may register on-site, but they are encouraged to pre-register by sending an e-mail to Erlinda Gonzales-Berry ( or by calling Rita Martinez-Salas at 503-315-4281, or the OSU Department of Ethnic Studies at 541-737-0709.

The conference is supported by Hewlett-Packard, the Oregon Council for the Humanities, Oregon State University, Portland State University, and several community groups.


Erlinda Gonzales-Berry, 541-737-5708

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