Award-winning actor and community activist Edward James Olmos, poet and bestselling author Erika Sanchez, and local hero Erica Alfaro will be the keynote speakers when MiraCosta College hosts the Latino Book & Family Festival at its Oceanside Campus on September 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is free.
This is the third time MiraCosta College has been home to the festival, and organizers anticipate more than 5,000 people will attend the free event. Indoor and outdoor festival villages will include booths, readings, and exhibits focused on literacy, in addition to an array of food and entertainment.
“MiraCosta College is honored to once again host what is the largest gathering of Latino authors in San Diego County, a celebration dedicated to building literacy and opening the doors to unlimited potential,” said MiraCosta College Board of Trustees President David Broad. “Dozens of published authors will be on hand to discuss their works, exhibitors, performers, and vendors will all gather for this annual event. We look forward to an amazing day that will serve as a catalyst in transforming so many lives.”
Launched in Los Angeles in 1997 and co-produced by Olmos—whose acting credits include “Stand and Deliver,” “Blade Runner” and “Selena”—the Latino Book & Family Festival has become a popular cultural and educational gathering in key Hispanic markets across the country. Festivals are operated through the Carlsbad-based nonprofit Latino Literacy Now, and the September 28 event is co-sponsored by MiraCosta College, the Oceanside Unified School District and GEAR UP (an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), among others.
MiraCosta College alumna Erika Alfaro is among the headliners. She is one of three siblings born to agricultural workers, who toiled in the fields from sunup to sundown so their children can have a better life. Alfaro’s iconic photo in cap and gown with her parents in a Carlsbad strawberry field after she earned her master’s degree in education from San Diego State University went viral and made headlines around the world.
Said Alfaro in an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, “The day that I showed my mom my cap and gown, she started crying and she started saying, ‘All the sacrifices were worth it. Working in the fields for long hours, everything was worth it. I’m so proud of you.’ And that day, that is when I came up with the idea of taking the picture with them in the strawberry fields.”
Joining Alfaro and Olmos as a keynote speaker is Erika Sanchez—“I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” and “Lessons on Expulsion,”—the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants, who dreamed since she was a tween of becoming a successful writer. Sanchez graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from the University of Illinois before earning a Fulbright Scholarship and moving to Madrid, where she wrote poems late into the night and taught English. She later earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of New Mexico and has been winning awards and accolades since.
MiraCosta College, a designated Hispanic Serving Institution, where more than one-third of its students are Latino.