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De Anza College News Release

May 22, 2008

Marisa Spatafore

Activist, Historian Adrian Vargas Named First Scholar in Residence; Will Deliver Program in June

CUPERTINO -- De Anza College's Institute of Community and Civic Engagement (ICCE) today announced the launch of its Community Scholars in Residence program and the selection of its first scholar, San José activist Adrian Tepehua Vargas. The program brings community organizers and leaders to De Anza to provide public lectures and workshop opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

Photo of Adrian Vargas, community scholar at De Anza CollegeVargas has been active in the Latino artistic and cultural movement for more than 30 years as a theatre and film director, playwright, actor, musician and producer. For a decade he directed San José's former Teatro de la Gente and was co-founder of El Centro Cultural De La Gente, the South Bay's first Chicano/Latino cultural center during the 1970s. Currently, he is artistic director of Casa Vargas Productions, a Chicano/Latino multicultural-based arts catalyst organization, creating cultural arts and media projects in schools and communities. He is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2004 California Arts Council Director's Award for lifetime contributions to the arts for the people of California and a Commendation Resolution by the California State Assembly in 2006 recognizing his lifelong work in the arts. Vargas was selected in 2008 as one of the top 10 most influential Latinos in the field of entertainment in Silicon Valley.


Tuesday, June 3, 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m., California History Center
Lecture on the essence and human origins of oral history and a workshop activity in which participants explore the personal oral history of their families; demo of CD recording of oral history in "The Circuit"; demonstration of Mexican/Chicano corridos as oral history expressed in music and verse; and excerpts from Vargas' film "El Gigante Awakens" illustrating the capturing of oral history during a mass protest march in support of immigrant rights.

Monday, June 9, 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m., California History Center
Lecture and video demonstration on the findings uncovered about San José's Chicano/Latino community history and panorama and its involvement in local civil rights struggles during the 1950s. Includes filmed interviews with original members of East San José's Community Services Organization, through which César Chavez organized for 10 years before organizing farmworkers.

Wednesday, June 11, 12:30p.m.-2 p.m., El Clemente, Campus Center
A workshop on Vargas' experiences in filming "El Gigante Awakens" and "¡Impacto!" Will include video excerpts and discussion on issues of the 1960s and 1970s featuring filmed interviews with leading community organizers of that time, including Blanca Alvarado, Jack Brito and Sophie Mendoza.

Thursday, June 12, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. California History Center
Screening of "El Gigante Awakens," an oral history documenting the immigrants' rights march in San Jose on May 1, 2006.

De Anza College's Institute of Community and Civic Engagement advances education for democracy with full participation of all of communities as its core value. Co-directors are Mayra Cruz and Rowena Tomaneng. See for more information. Contact ICCE at or 408.864.8439.

De Anza College, this year celebrating its 40th anniversary, consistently ranks as one of the top two institutions in California in transferring students to the UC and CSU systems. The college provides an average of 24,000 students each quarter with general education and vocational courses as well as interdisciplinary studies, community service opportunities, on-the-job-training, internships, collaborative programs with businesses and industries, and online and television classes. Read more about the college at

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