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Adelante students read at Pacific tonight

This is the third year for event created for its participants


by: COURTESY PHOTO - Maria Carmen Gaona writes about her Mexican childhood, journey to the U.S. and experience fitting into a new country. Shell read tonight at Pacific University. Latina poets will offer the community a snapshot into their lives tonight when they read their poetry and stories at Pacific University.

Adelante Mujeres English as a Second Language class students chose a moment of their lives they remember vividly to write about.

"It offers a new perspective on memories and a chance to express themselves emotionally," Annemarie Garcia said. "I think they gain a voice."

This is the third annual "Snapshots" event and each year it grows a little.

Participants write about a memory in Spanish and then translate the pieces into English with the help of teachers.

Adelante student Maria Carmen Gaona writes about her memories of growing up in the beautiful but poor Mexico City with her parents who stressed education and strict morals.

"It’s a nice and great opportunity to be able to continue with my goals to continue learning more English because in this country it is paramount, and to better myself personally and to feel proud because of it," Gaona writes. "In the future I want to know more about this country because it is very nice and also has beautiful people. I thank this country for this opportunity, and because I have ten thousand reasons to succeed."

For many, it's the first time they've read in public or have shared their writing.

"It's an event created around our participants," Garcia said. "It gives them confidence. When people show up to listen it says, 'Your stories are worth it.'"

The classes stress writing exercises as a way to learn and to develop a personal voice.

"It offers insight into the Latino community and Latinas in Forest Grove," Garcia said.

Area residents can support the aspiring writers at 7 p.m. tonight, Feb. 19, in Pacific University's Marsh Hall Taylor Auditorium. The event is bilingual.

The event is co-sponsored by the Pacific University Center for Gender Equity, National Organization for Women (NOW) and Adelante Mujeres. Refreshments will be served after the readings.



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