Award Winning Artist Rita Moreno Will Be At WIU

The first female artist to win an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony award will be visiting WIU this week. Famous actress and singer Rita Moreno will share her life story on Thursday, October 9th at 6 p.m. in the University Union Heritage Room.

Moreno has acted and sang in several popular movies including “West Side Story”, “The King and I” and “Singing in the Rain.” Moreno’s presentation is free and open to the public. The event, organized by Western’s Casa Latina Cultural Center, is part of the Latino Heritage Month celebration. Latino Heritage month is from September 15th to October 15th. While Moreno will speak on many topics, she will emphasize why she wants Latino celebrities to be recognized for their talents, not their ethnicity.

I spoke with the Director of the Casa Latina Cultural Center Gabe Lara and he explained what Latino Heritage Month means to the Casa Latina Cultural Center. “It’s a national celebration…one month to fully showcase the greatness of the culture…showing the WIU community the richness of the culture,” said Lara.

Lara also explained why they wanted Rita Moreno to speak on campus. “The main reason we wanted to bring her down is because she is a legend. I want the students to hear her story and to be inspired,” said Lara.

Lara explained to me that a couple years ago, at the National Council of La Raza Conference, he heard Moreno speak. All the students who were at the conference were so inspired by her that they wanted to bring her to WIU to speak. After two years of planning and budgeting, WIU’s Casa Latina Cultural Center is finally able to have her come to Western. Moreno’s presentation will be their key event for the semester.

The Casa Latina Cultural Center not only hosts on events year-round, but the Center is a resource at Western. Staff works to promote the Latino culture and build leadership among students. The Casa Latina Cultural Center is open to everyone.

For more information on the Casa Latina Cultural Center visit


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