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Veteran educator, civil rights activist to speak at annual Kidd Literacy Conference

Two women, one a veteran educator and the other a civil rights activist, will be the keynote speakers at the seventh annual Don & Sarrah Kidd Literacy Conference, hosted by the College of Education?s Department of Curriculum & Instruction at New Mexico State University.

Vivian Maria Vazquez, professor of education at American University in Washington, D.C., and Sylvia Mendez, whose parents filed the landmark 1946 court case of Mendez v. Westminster, et. al. to ensure Mendez received an equal education, will speak at the conference, which will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m April 2 at NMSU?s Domenici Hall. The conference is free to NMSU and Dona Ana Community College students.

?The goal of the conference is to provide pre-K through 12 educators with resources and research needed to create equitable literacy and bi-literacy curricula that meet the needs of all students for the enhancement of reflection and action in the classroom, and to discuss the impact of literacy on student learning,? said Anita Hernandez, the Don and Sarrah Kidd Endowed Chair in Literacy and professor in the College of Education. ?The conference is always exciting as we bring together NMSU College of Education faculty with nationally recognized scholars. We have teachers from Las Cruces Public Schools and the Gadsden Independent School District along with NMSU and Doņa Ana Community College students.?

Vazquez, who has been in the education field for 30 years, has published 10 books, numerous book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her research interests are in critical literacy, early literacy and information communication technology. She has received numerous awards, including the National Council of Teachers of English Advancement of People of Color Award, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division B Outstanding Book of the Year Award and the James N. Britton Award. She was also the first recipient of the AERA Teacher Research Special Interest Groups Dissertation Award in 2004.

Mendez is the daughter of Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez, who filed Mendez v. Westminster, et al. Sylvia Mendez was an assistant nursing director of the Pediatric Pavilion and served for 33 years as a nurse at the Los Angeles University of Southern California Medical Center. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Certificate in Public Health. She has received several Lifetime Achievement awards. In 2001, the first Mendez School was dedicated in Santa Ana, Calif., and in 2005 she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Santa Ana College. In 2011, Mendez was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama and in 2012 she received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.

Students who wish to attend the conference must register at http://www.rsvpbook.com/kiddconference2016. A light breakfast and lunch will provided. For more information, contact Hernandez at achernan@nmsu.edu or student conference coordinators Mahender Manda at mahender@nmsu.edu, or Sarah Chacon at smarie23@nmsu.edu.