Sunday, July 20, 2014

La Bloga "in person" in Chicago: Celebrating 10 years and over 1 million Readers

Our La Bloga "PREZI" digital presentation for the audience
(Thank you to Mitch Christopher Hobza for creating the PREZI)
La Bloga writers presented in Chicago this past week (July 18th) at "Imagining Latina/Latino Studies: An International Latina/o Studies Conference." The conference, at The Palmer House Hotel in downtown Chicago, marked a major stride in working toward the formation of a Latina/Latino Studies Association.  Kudos go to a large community of professors, students, and staff who made this happen.  (CLICK HERE for more information.

Business Meeting to vote to establish a Latina/Latino Studies Association
Latina y Latino Studies:  vibrant and strong!
Maria Hinojosa, Award winning journalist, anchor & producer of Latino USA on National Public Radio
Maria Hinojosa was the plenary moderator for "Perspectives on the State of Latina/Latino Studies"
It also marked the first time that the majority of La Bloga writers came together to speak about "La Bloga" and to celebrate our ten year anniversary in person.  Many of us write our La Bloga posts in solitude and communicate with our La Bloga members through e-mail, texting, Facebook, and Twitter.  What a thrill it was to finally meet in person.  It was also exciting to meet some of our readers and to hear what they had to say about our blog site which reaches over 1 million readers within and outside the United States.  Here is a pictorial of some of the highlights: 

La Bloga writers (left to right): Daniel Olivas, Olga Echeverria, Amelia Montes, Xanath Caraza,
Manuel Ramos, Lydia Gil, Rene Colato

Audience "paparazzi" taking photos of us
The picture above occurred right after the La Bloga writers presented. These audience members had stayed after we finished our panel.  They simultaneously took out their phones and began to photograph us.  I suppose this is what it feels like to have paparazzi approaching you all at once for a photo.  So we decided to make it interactive and we took photos of them taking photos of us!  

A note on those taking photos of us:  many of them were archivists and librarians, telling us (reminding us!) that our work is an important record of Latina and Latino culture, art, music, literature, health, and personal commentary.  It was quite a revelation to hear how audience members work in libraries and classrooms, consulting our La Bloga book reviews for literature to list in their course curriculum, to include in their book, film, and music purchases.  They also include our posts in their classroom lectures and presentations. They also gave us quite an overwhelming task to consider:   to archive ten years of work!  

Dear La Bloga Reader: Thank you for your support these ten years. The beauty of La Bloga is that we bring a diversity of perspectives to you regarding contemporary (and past) fiction, film, art, music, culture, food, topics on politics, health, and the latest national and international events.  Because we bring our individual perspectives, we illustrate the diversity within Latinidad.  

We hope to reunite again in the future.  Here's hoping we see you next time!

La Bloga celebrates at Zapatista Restaurant in Chicago.  (Left to Right: Daniel Olivas, Rene Colato, Olga Echeverria, Manuel Ramos, Xanath Caraza, Amelia Montes)
Celebratory dinner at Zapatista Restaurant:  La Bloga and friends!
There was also a bit of time to have a look at Chicago's beauty:

Gorgeous echinacea (pale purple cornflower) growing in one of Chicago's botanical gardens
Echinacea (pale purple cornflower)
culver's root (midwestern native perennial plant)

Flo Ramos made these beautiful cards for the audience!  Thank you, Flo!


Olga Garcia Echeverria said...

Gracias, Amelia! You were an awesome moderator and fellow panelist . Chicago was a blast! Let's do it again soon. :)

Xánath Caraza said...

Let's do it again soon, I agree. Gracias Amelia for bringing us together. Viva La Bloga!

Mona AlvaradoFrazier said...

Congratulations on your longevity. Great photos, wondering what the beautiful statue of the woman is called?

Rene Colato Lainez said...

It was such an honor to be part of the panel. Muchas gracias Amelia for organizing it. Muchos salads a todos,


Manuel Ramos said...

Thanks, Amelia, for all the work you did for the panel. Great to see all of you in Chicago - I agree, we will have to do this again.