Author Reyna Grande Will Discuss “The Distance Between Us” at UMKC Social Justice Event

Her account of life before and after her trip to El Otro Lado (the Other Side)

The Social Justice Book and Lecture Series sponsored by the University of Missouri-Kansas City offers a speaker with a compelling story to tell. Author Reyna Grande will share the impact immigration to the United States had on her family.

Grande will speak at 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 13 in Pierson Auditorium at UMKC’s Atterbury Student Success Center, 5000 Holmes St. Sponsored by the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, the event is free and open to the public.

According to Grande, “The Distance Between Us,” deals with her life and feelings after her father migrated from Guerrero, Mexico, to the United States for work, in pursuit of a better life for his family. That was 1977. Her mom joined him in 1980. The children stayed with their paternal grandmother.

In 1985, the parents returned to take their children with them to live in Los Angeles. After two failed attempts at crossing the border, they made it across on their third try, and entered the U.S. as undocumented immigrants.

Grande said her book describes how immigration turned her father and her into strangers. She will share what was gained and what was lost as result of their almost eight-year separation.

“Through this lecture series, we are able to share Reyna Grande’s first-hand account of the impact immigration had on her family with UMKC students, staff, faculty and the Kansas City community,” said Susan Wilson, vice chancellor, Division of Diversity and Inclusion. “Reyna has a unique voice and paints a vivid picture of the negative and positive aspects of life before and after their move to the United States.”

Grande is author of the novels “Across a Hundred Mountains” and “Dancing with Butterflies.”

Additional events occurring during the 2016 UMKC Social Justice Series:

  • Film screening of “I Learn America” and local stories with the UMKC School of Education, 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4, School of Education Learning Commons, room 129, 615 E. 52 St. Moderated by Allyson Hile, director of Language Services, Kansas City Public Schools.
  • Social Justice Book Discussion with UMKC Libraries, 3:30 – 5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 10, iX Theatre, Miller Nichols Library, 800 E. 51 St.
  • Undocumented Immigration: A Public Police Debate with UMKC Debate and DEBATE-Kansas City, 6-7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 19, room 151, Miller Nichols Learning Center, 800 E. 51st
  • UMKC Civic Connections Volunteer Fair with the UMKC Office of Multicultural Student Affairs , 5100 Cherry St., Suite 319

For more information on the lecture, visit the Division of Diversity website or to register for the lecture, go to the event registration webpage.




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