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Award Winning Chicano Writer to Speak

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San Bernardino

Luis J. Rodriguez, one of the leading Chicano writers in America with eight published books, will speak at Cal State San Bernardino on April 22 from 6-8 p.m. in University Hall, Room 106. The presentation is free.

Rodriguez has written memoirs, children's literature and poetry, but is best known for his 1993 memoir of gang life, "Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A." The book was written as a cautionary tale for his then 15-year-old son, who had joined a Chicago Latino gang.

"Always Running" was an international best-seller that won a Carl Sandburg Literary Award, a Chicago Sun-Times Book Award and was designated a New York Times "Notable Book." The book, for all the awards it has won, is controversial. In 1999, the American Library Association called his book one of the 10 most censored books in the United States.

An accomplished poet, Rodriguez has authored three collections of poetry: "Poems Across the Pavement," "The Concrete River" and "Trochemoche." He has also written books for children. They include "America Is Her Name" and "It Doesn't Have To Be This Way: A Barrio Story," which were published in English and Spanish.

Rodriguez has spent more than 20 years conducting workshops, readings and talks in prisons, juvenile facilities, homeless shelters, migrant camps, universities, public and private schools, conferences, Native American reservations and men's retreats throughout the United States. He has also traveled to Canada, Europe, Mexico, Central America and Puerto Rico doing similar work with the people there.

Rodriguez helped start Chicago's Guild Complex, one of the largest literary arts organizations in the Midwest and its publishing wing, Tia Chucha Press. He is also one of the founders of Youth Struggling for Survival, a Chicago-based non-profit community group working with gang and non-gang youth. He also helped start Rock A Mole Productions, which produces music and art festivals, CDs and films in Los Angeles.

In May 2001, Rodriguez was recognized with 50 other individuals around the world as an Unsung Hero of Compassion, an honor given him by the Dalai Lama.

Rodriguez has won several awards, including an Illinois Author of the Year Award and a Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature. His writings have, in the past 20 years, appeared in The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, U.S. News and World Report, L.A. Weekly and Philadelphia Inquirer magazine.

For more information on Rodriguez's appearance, call (909) 880-5000, ext. 3777, or e-mail mkohout@csusb.edu.

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