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April 25, 2008

Knight Law Center to Host Conference on Gender, Families, and Latino Immigration in Oregon

More than 30 community leaders and advocates for immigrants’ rights will be at the University of Oregon May 22-23 to take part in the Conference on Gender, Families and Latino Immigration in Oregon.

The conference, sponsored by the UO’s Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS), will focus on Latino immigrant communities in Oregon.  The participants are members of some 20 organizations and institutions based in Oregon, California and Mexico.

“We are providing a unique forum on immigration by focusing specifically on how immigration politics and policies affect Latino immigrant women, men, families and youth,” said Lynn Stephen, director of CSWS’s Gender, Families, and Immigration Project and distinguished professor of anthropology. “In addition, we are interested in exploring how these issues can provide opportunities for alliance building for immigrant rights.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, begins Thursday evening, May 22, and continues all day Friday, May 23. It will be held at the William H. Knight Law Center, 1515 Agate St. Advanced registration is not required.

A highlight of the conference will be the release of “The Immigrant Experience in Oregon: Research, Analysis, and Recommendations from University of Oregon Scholars,” a report produced in English and Spanish by the UO’s Labor Education Research Center.

The conference follows more than two years of planning, including outreach by organizers to Latino communities throughout Oregon, Stephen said. Part of this process involved a series of meetings and public events to gather information on the needs of Latino immigrant families and students, immigrant rights’ advocates, health-care and human services providers, educators and members of the justice system. Many of the emerging needs have resulted from a steady rise of the immigrant populations in Oregon since the 1990s.

“I see this conference giving the Latino community a sense of hope in the midst of a lot of negative publicity focused on immigrant legal status,” said Patricia Cortez, president of the board of directors of the Amigos Multicultural Center in Eugene and member of the conference’s advisory board. “This is important work, especially from my perspective as an immigrant.”

More information about the conference is available on the CSWS conference Web site at http://csws.uoregon.edu/Immigration/index.htm.

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