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Colorado Humanities and community sponsors bring celebrated author to CMU

Tim Hernandez reveals the forgotten names of immigrants

Professor of Spanish Thomas Acker, PhD, has dedicated much of his life to advocating for the rights of immigrants and underserved populations. When Melinda Rice of Western Colorado Writers’ Forum invited Acker to collaborate and bring prize-winning author and lecturer Tim Hernandez to CMU, Acker wasted no time in working with the Colorado Humanities to secure the opportunity.

“Hernandez is not only a nationally-recognized author and speaker but his subject matter aligns with the spirit of Hispanic Heritage month,” said Acker. “His work is a culmination of years of research and interviews that bring to light a tragedy that is a stain on the history of America’s immigration story.”

The presentation by Hernandez is called Finding Woody Gurthrie's Deportees. The program will occur on Thursday, October 17 at 7pm in the Colorado Mesa University Center’s South Meyer Ballroom. Participants are encouraged to continue the conversation after the event over complementary refreshments provided by event sponsors.

The work of Hernandez required extensive research and field work around a tragic plane crash that ended the lives of migrant workers in 1948. Hernandez spent a significant portion of his literary career researching the crash and speaking with family members of those Mexican citizens and those of the U.S. crew, tragically lost in the 1948 airplane disaster. He interviewed immigration guards as well as eyewitnesses to the crash. His work resulted in funds being raised for a memorial that correctly identifies the victim returning their names, literally and figuratively, to history. His efforts will prevent the United States and Mexico from forgetting the tragedy while bringing closure to those who suffered from the loss.

“Colorado Humanities advances our mission to inspire the exploration of ideas and appreciation of Colorado’s diverse cultural heritage by providing programs that seek to recognize how history, literature, philosophy, languages and the social sciences can tell the human story,” said Colorado Humanities Event Coordinator Gina Huett. “Mr. Hernandez has an amazing talent as a communicator and an important message and we are excited to bring this programing to CMU.”

In addition to the campus evening lecture, Hernandez will present two lectures earlier that day:

Turning Research into Writing
October 17, 8am
Dominguez Hall 104

The Documentary Novel, Why and What it Means
October 17 at 9:30am 
Wubben Hall and Science Center, Saccomano Lecture Hall 141

An additional program called, “Woody Guthrie’s Deportees: The Importance of a Name” will occur on Wednesday, October 16 from 5-6 pm at Dual Immersion Academy.

About Author Tim Z. Hernandez:
An award-winning writer and performer, Tim’s work has received an American Book Award for poetry, the Colorado Book Award for poetry, and the International Latino Book Award for historical fiction and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, C-Span/ American History TV, the San Francisco Chronicle, and National Public Radio. Named a New American Poet by the Poetry Society of America, he was a finalist for the inaugural Split This Rock Freedom Plow Award for his work on locating the victims of the 1948 plane wreck at Los Gatos Canyon. All They Will Call You (University of Arizona Press) is available at and through Out West Books at the public events.

About the Partners:
Colorado Humanities is the only Colorado organization exclusively dedicated to supporting humanities education for all ages statewide. To learn more, visit Colorado Humanities or call 303.894.7951.

The mission of the all-volunteer Western Colorado Writers’ Forum is to foster a dynamic literary and writing community in western Colorado. They accomplish this by using grants and memberships to fund workshops, presentations and performances that are open to all who are interested. More information about us can be found at or send your questions to [email protected].

Addition supporters include:
Hispanic Affairs Project
Colorado Mesa University
Western Colorado Writers Forum
The Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture
Alpine Bank
Downtown Hotels


Written by David Ludlam