Whittier College News Release

Office of Public Relations
13406 Philadelphia St.
P.O. Box 634
Whittier, CA  90608-0634

Contact:
     Judy Browning at (562) 907-4216       

Reference:  03/04: 42

Date:           Feb. 6, 2004                                                                                                                      

Human Rights Heroes Celebrated at Whittier College 

          “Light Among Shadows,” a collection of works by contemporary artists and writers with historical photographs and documents celebrating new heroes of the human rights movement throughout North and South America, will be on display in the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts at Whittier College from Feb. 9 through March 12. 

Tracing the events leading up to the military overthrow of the Salvador Allende government in Chile in 1973, the exhibit honors Orlando Letelier and Ronnie Moffit, assassinated in a 1976 car-bombing in Washington, D.C. for their human rights activism against Chile’s military regime, as well as other human rights heroes.

Artist, poet and human rights activist Francisco Letelier, curator of the exhibit and son of Orlando, will be at the opening reception beginning 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11, in the Shannon Center.  Argentine poet Alicia Partnoy, a survivor of the military regime, and guitarist Kevin Cooper will also perform during the reception.

Francisco Letelier will also direct a mural project on the college campus during the show.  He has created murals and other public works at sites throughout the Americas and Europe including the Los Angeles Metro, Northern Ireland and Nicaragua.

 Whittier College students from several different disciplines will be involved in the mural project, which will be done in front of Wardman Gym, the college’s art center. 

A closing performance is scheduled for the Club on campus, Thursday, March 11, from 7-10 p.m.  Participants include Francisco Letelier, Chilean singer Jacqueline Fuentes, and poet/singer Joselyn Wilkinson. 

          “Light among Shadows” blends historical photographs and documents with works by contemporary writers and visual artists, according to Francisco Letelier.  “The project reflects a reemerging sensibility, which sets artists as key figures in the imagining of our world,” he said, “with contributions from people who have consistently crossed the borders between art and the shaping of social policy.”

E. Ethelbert Miller, the prize winning African-American poet from Washington D.C., Chilean author Ariel Dorfmann, Uruguayan artist Naul Ojeda , photojournalist Marcelo Montecino and filmmaker and writer Saul Landau have contributed to the exhibit.  Political and cultural figures such as Tom Hayden and musician Jackson Browne, as well as Anne Marie O'Connor from the Los Angeles Times and noted human rights activist and scholar Charlie Clements also have added to the materials included in “Light Among Shadows.” 

          Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and 25-year-old American Ronnie Karpen Moffitt were colleagues at the Institute for Policy Studies, where Letelier had become one of the most outspoken critics of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. After their deaths, an FBI investigation traced the crime to the highest levels of Pinochet’s regime. For the past 26 years, the Institute for Policy Studies has hosted an annual human rights award in the names of Letelier and Moffitt.  Each year a domestic award is made within the United States; another is presented in some other part of the American continents. 

Project sponsors include the Institute for Policy Studies and Foundation Amistad. 

On campus support has been provided by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, the President’s office, Academic Affairs, Student Activities, the Cultural Center, the political science, global studies and comparative cultures departments, Garrett House,  Hartley House and the Shannon Center.  More information is available by contacting O’Connor-Gomez at (562) 907-4280.

Located 18 miles east of Los Angeles, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering traditional liberal arts majors and strong pre-professional programs taught in the context of the liberal arts.  Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Costa Mesa

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