What's The Buzz: CT Latinos


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Social media among state Latinos has been buzzing again, responding to the release of the lineup for the 2013-2014 season of the popular Connecticut Forum series, which offers live, unscripted panel discussions with renowned experts and celebrities. Many Latinos are expressing their disappointment, yet once again, that in recent years apparently the Forum has not made a concerted effort to be more inclusive in their panelists, noting that Latino panelists don’t have to just speak about Latino issues to share their views on the numerous topics the Forum panels has covered over the years.
A sampling of Facebook conversations on the topic:
Bessy Reyna:
Another season of CT Forum and guess what? Los Latinos continuan sin ser invitados. What’s up with the organizers? I respect the participants but there’s got to be 1 latino in the US worthy of being a panelist every once in a while. I shall continue to rant and rave.
Yanil Teron:  Keep on it!  You are a great at it!

Luis  Edgardo Cotto: Bessy, have they ever had a Latino panelist? How many years are we talking about?Jose A. Garcia: I agree, we need a panelist… Do we have board representation at the CT forum?Marilda  Lara Gandara:  Forwarded my own comment to Doris Sugarman. So disappointing.
Bessy Reyna: It seems as if they select from a “national” group and take what they think will sell in CT … as we know intellectual Latinos are soooo hard to find. Too bad because the first panel is about being gay which I would support otherwise.
Gladys  Rivera: Thanks for sharing Bessy. I will keep this in mind and will have a great response the next time I’m asked to volunteer.
Bessy Reyna:  Here are 3 “gay” writers who could have participated in the panel: Jaime Manrique, author of one of the first gay fictions by a latino in the USA.; Dr. Rafael Campos, Harvard Medical school, wrote a great article years ago for the NYT about being gay and latino, not my favorite but well-known Richard Rodriguez who used to do essays for NPR…lots of others which can probably be found without re-inventing the wheel. Gloria Anzaldua is a pioneer in gay latina lit…and on an on.
Bessy Reyna: Sorry,  I left RICHARD BLANCO out of my list. He was selected to be Obama’s “inaugural poet” his poems and writings about being gay are amazing
CTLatinoNews.com reached out to the Connecticut Forum to inquire about the concerns expressed. Richard Sugarman, founding president of the Connecticut Forum said, “To say never is inaccurate; we have had Latino panelists. I would say we are very sensitive to having diverse panels in any and every wa, and we appreciate people bringing this concern to our attention.”
Sugarman said, The Forum, which began presenting these programs in 1992, has featured over the years such Latinos as actor James Edward Olmos, author and social scientist Juan Enriquez and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias as panelists.
In response to Sugarman’s comments, Bessy Reyna, a well known author and writer said today, “The question becomes, how  many panelists have they had over the years and how many of those have been Latinos?  This is deja vu of what Kennedy  Center was doing.”
Editor’s Note: Bessy Reyna is an occasional contributor to CTLatinoNews.com