Invitation to Presentations by Angela Sanbrano and Emilio Amaya on Immigrant Rights – Wed., April 21 at 3 PM

You are invited to join in on our Rural and Urban Social Movements class to hear the stories and presentations of two widely known and acclaimed community-based organizers with a long history in the immigrant rights movement:  Angela Sanbrano and Emilio Amaya.  While both will speak to their history in the immigrant rights movement and discuss contemporary trends in those movements – we will experiment with making the connections to movement cultural music.  Emilio, as part of the group Son Real, will share “movement songs” that connect to the themes in our readings and to the various parts of the presentations (as they develop). 


Angela Sanbrano is an acclaimed activist and community organizer who has led some of the nation’s most prominent immigrant- and refugee-rights groups, including the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) and the Central American Resource Center-LA (CARECEN). Sanbrano now serves as co-executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.  A graduate of Pitzer College in 1975, she was presented with the Pitzer Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019. Born in Juarez, Mexico, and raised in El Paso, TX, Sanbrano majored in psychology at Pitzer. She began community organizing in the ’70s, advocating bilingual education and housing rights in Los Angeles. In 1983, Sanbrano earned a law degree at the Peoples College of Law in LA, where she met Salvadoran refugees fleeing their country’s civil war. Two years later, she became executive director of CISPES, a national grassroots organization that supports social and economic justice in El Salvador and opposes US intervention in the Central American country. She served as an official witness of the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords in Mexico City, which ended the 12-year civil war in El Salvador in 1992.  Sanbrano took the helm of CARECEN, the largest Central American immigrant rights organization in the US, in the mid-1990s, leading the organization as its executive director until 2007. In addition to her work with CISPES and CARECEN, Sanbrano was president of the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, now called Alianza Americas, when it won a 2010 MacArthur “Genius” Award for Creative & Effective Institutions. She is also the co-chair of the Latino and Latina Roundtable of the Pomona and San Gabriel Valley and chair of CARECEN’s Board of Directors.  

Emilio Amaya was born in Veracruz, Mexico and immigrated to the U. S. when he was 13 years old as an unaccompanied minor.  He has been a homeless child, migrant worker, day laborer, food worker, steel worker, and union representative.  He is a founding member of Libreria del Pueblo in San Bernardino and currently serves as executive director of San Bernardino Community Service Center in the Inland Empire where he has been involved in immigrant rights defense and advocacy since 1986.  His organization provides immigration legal services and representation to immigrants in San Bernardino and Riverside counties and is qualified to represent immigrant families (Appeals for Practice of immigration law).  Throughout his organizing history, Emilio has used his singing and guitar music abilities as part of movement-building with the community-based group Son Real.

Jose Zapata Calderon
Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Chicano/a and Latino/a Studies
1050 North Mills Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711-6101
(909) 952-1640


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