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Living and Writing a Migrant’s Life

Francisco Jimenez Atencion

By Jon Sievert

Education activist, author, and professor Francisco Jiménez relates his experiences as an undocumented immigrant to the US as a child, and the transformative power of education at a Unitarian service on November 10.

A prolific, multi-award-winning author born in San Pedro, Tlaquepaque, México, Jiménez will describe his family’s life as migrant farmworkers who picked strawberries, grapes, and cotton and how that informed his writing.

As one of a small community of scholars who understands from personal experience the educational barriers faced by Mexican-Americans, Dr Jiménez has been an agent for change in academia and public education for 30 years. Through his roles with the Modern Language Association (MLA), the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the California Council for the Humanities, the Western Association Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC), and Santa Clara University (SCU), he has been a dedicated and effective voice for multicultural dialogue in the arts and education. Currently he is Professor Emeritus at SCU.

Jiménez’s work to develop a more inclusive literary canon means that today’s Mexican American students can see their stories represented as part of the American narrative. His advocacy for a multicultural education at SCU and elsewhere ensures that students of different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds can appreciate the perspectives of all kinds of people.

His four-book autobiographical series about his youth—The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child; Breaking Through; Reaching Out; and Taking Hold—is included in the American Library Association Booklist’s 50 Best Young Adult Books of All Time. They are regularly assigned in classrooms across the country to provide inspiration for a generation of students, particularly Latinos and children of recent immigrants. When he discusses the significance of his work, the conversation always returns to the transformative power of education for individual students and the future vibrancy of American democracy.

Jiménez is also a recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, given to writers, artists, thinkers, and activists whose work captures Steinbeck’s empathy, commitment to democratic values, and belief in the dignity of people who circumstance pushes to the fringes. Past recipients include playwright Arthur Miller, musician Bruce Springsteen, filmmaker Ken Burns, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, and United Farm Workers cofounder Dolores Huerta.

Pianist Paula Peace will be the service’s pianist. Guest musician for the day is singer-guitarist Yoremem Jocobi.

For more information about the UUFSMA, including the Sunday morning children’s religious education program, social action outreach, weekly discussion groups, social activities, and Care Team, come any Sunday to the Hotel La Aldea at 10:30am, or check out the website


UU Service

“Living and Writing a Migrant’s Life”

Dr Francisco Jiménez

Sun, Nov 10, 10:30am

Hotel La Aldea

Ancha de San Antonio 15, Centro




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