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Herman Badillo's Political Legacy: From Caguas to Congress

Forum on Herman Badillo’s Political Legacy Wednesday, March 18, 2015 6 – 8 pm Glass Café, West Building, 3rd Floor  Please join us next Wednesday, March 18, 2015 for a forum discussing the legacy of the pioneering Puerto Rican politician Herman Badillo. Badillo was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico and moved to New York after both his parents died when he was 11. From these humble and tragic beginnings, he rose to prominence as the first Puerto Rican elected to the United States House of Representatives. Centro is very pleased to welcome Badillo’s son, David (Associate Professor, Lehman College), as well as Virginia Sánchez-Korrol (Professor Emerita, Brooklyn College) and Juan Cartagena (President and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF) to discuss Representative Badillo’s political legacy. Particular attention will be paid to his contributions to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which ensured greater electoral participation for racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. In an article published in Centro Voices at the time of Badillo’s passing, Cartagena discusses Badillo’s testimony, which led to the “uniquely Puerto Rican provision” of the Voting Rights Act: Herman Badillo's testimony was eloquent and befitting of a person who put himself through college and law school at the top of each class after arriving in New York as an orphan with no English proficiency. Reading the transcripts of the hearings years later I visualized Herman epitomizing the stubborn pride of the Island's jíbaro culture as he challenged the "myth in our state of New York that a citizen can be an intelligent, well-informed voter only if he is literate in English." We hope you will join us for what promises to be a wide-ranging and fascinating look at Badillo’s pioneering work in politics. The event will feature an audience question and answer session, and light refreshments will be provided.