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New Mexico State Honors Program to present actor Edward James Olmos

Edward James Olmos, an actor, producer, director and community activist, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, at New Mexico State University's Pan American Center.

Edward James Olmos, an actor, producer, director and community activist, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, at the Pan American Center as part of the New Mexico State University Speakers Series.

Olmos's presentation, "We're All in the Same Gang," is part of the University Speakers Series, which brings prominent speakers to Las Cruces each spring. No tickets are required and admission is free.

During the course of his career, Olmos has conveyed the struggles and triumphs of everyday life in theatrical works such as "Zoot Suit," films such as "Stand and Deliver" and "Selena," and the television series "Miami Vice." Off screen he has helped communities in need, from victims of natural disasters and famine, to survivors of violence and abuse.

A recent biographer of Olmos said he is "a man with a mission" who "believes in portraying characters that have meaning and truth."

He won an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Lt. Martin Castillo on "Miami Vice." In 1988, he received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Jaime Escalante, the eccentric but dedicated math teacher, in the film "Stand and Deliver," which he produced.

Olmos also is widely known as one of Hollywood's most dedicated social activists, and as one of the most active speakers on the college lecture circuit. He has received five honorary doctorates.

Following the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles, Olmos took to the streets to help rebuild the city and develop plans for its future. In the wake of Hurricane Andrew, Olmos flew to Florida to help in recovery efforts.

Born and raised in East Los Angeles, Olmos has taken a special interest in problems facing youth. He has been the U.S. Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Children's Fund as well as the executive director of the Lives in Hazard Project, a national gang prevention program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, and currently sits on the boards of numerous organizations.

In 1999, Olmos launched a nationwide multimedia project called "Americanos: Latino Life in the United States," a celebration of Latino culture through photography, film, music and the printed word. The project, co-sponsored by Time Warner Inc., is designed to inspire Latino pride and to build bridges among Latinos and others.

The University Speakers Series, presented each spring by the Honors Program and the Office of the Provost, strives to bring to Las Cruces distinguished lecturers who will appeal to a broad community audience. Previous speakers have included Native American author N. Scott Momaday, neurologist Oliver Sacks, primatologist Jane Goodall and social activist Gloria Steinem.

For more information, call the Honors Program at (505) 646-2005.