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Award-winning journalist selected as Richard T. and Virginia M. Castro Visiting Professor

Maria Hinojosa headlines the Sept. 7 event. Learn more about this year’s speaker and why the program has adopted a new name.

By Lindsey Coulter

August 12, 2021

Roadrunners and community members are invited to attend events celebrating the 2021 Richard T. and Virginia M. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professorship. The program has long honored Richard T. Castro, an influential community organizer, social worker and Colorado state representative, and now it also recognizes the important contributions and longtime leadership of his wife, Virginia.

Richard T. and Virginia CastroVirginia M. Castro, pictured right with Richard T. Castro, was one of the first instructors of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She also worked in the Denver Public Schools Department of Social Work for 27 years before her retirement in 2001, 11 of those years as the district's first Chicana administrator. She also was a partner and supporter of her late husband’s political career and remains active in various community-service endeavors.

"I am honored to be included in the professorship title. I am impressed with MSU Chicana/o Studies department and the way they have conducted this event for the last, I believe, 21 years," Virginia M. Castro said, adding that the visiting professors have contributed much to the Denver community and especially the Auraria Campus students.

“Virginia Castro has been committed to the values and goals of social justice, political empowerment and access to education for Chicano/a and Mexicano/a communities in Denver and especially for those with historic ties to the Auraria Campus,” said Adriana Nieto, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Chicana/o Studies. “It’s important to (add) her name to the professorship because it recognizes the critical role that women and spouses play in not only handling the domestic responsibilities of a family with a very public figure but also how important her voice and perspective were to shaping both the House and la casa.”

In fact, the program’s 2017 theme, “Taking Care of Business in the House and La Casa,” was in part inspired by the conversations around the invisible and uncompensated labor of Chicanas.

This year’s theme of “RePRESSente: Broadcasting, Nuestras Historias” highlights Latina journalists who tell the stories of Latino/a and other marginalized communities and features a virtual keynote address by 2021 Richard T. and Virginia Castro Distinguished Visiting Professor Maria Hinojosa. See the website for more details on events — including a moderated conversation and Q&A, community panel, and a virtual reception — and RSVP information.

Maria HinojosaHinojosa (pictured right) is an award-winning multimedia journalist who explores and gives a critical voice to the diverse American experience. Her nearly 30-year career includes reporting for PBS, CBS, WNBC, CNN and NPR. She is the anchor and executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning radio program “Latino USA” and founded Futuro Media. The independent, nonprofit newsroom creates multimedia content from a POC perspective, empowering people to navigate the complexities of an increasingly diverse and connected world. She also co-hosts Futuro Media’s award-winning political podcast “In the Thick.”

In her new book, “Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America,” Hinojosa tells the story of immigration in America through her family’s experiences and decades of reporting, painting an unflinching portrait of a country in crisis.

“​Also, as the firing of three Latina journalists from local station 9News broke, we thought it was important to bring (these women and Hinojosa) together in conversation about the importance of representation,” Nieto said. “They are not only committed to being good journalists but also have come forward to tell their own stories of discrimination, bias and racialized sexism and sexist racism.”

Topics: Events, Hispanic Serving Institution, Save the date

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