"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Thursday, November 17, 2005

El Paso's Writers Spotlight: Theresa Melendez

I never met professora Melendez, but I've traded email with her.

I also hear good thing from the Chicano(a) student in Michagan. She currently teaches at Michagan State University in their department of English.

But most of us know her when she was tenured faculty at UTEP's English Departement. For a long time, she was the only tenured Chicana/o in that department. Not much has changed there.

But she was there as several writers passed through like Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Benjamin A. Saenz, and Manuel Velez. I'm not sure if Melendez was there when Olga Garcia passed through.

Melendez was very active at UTEP in the Chicano Faculty Association, back when Dr. Haddox, Norma Hernandez, Cesar Caballero, Oscar Martinez, among others were active in it. Melendez was always a supporter of UTEP Chicano Studies, even through its tough times.

I know she was director of MSU Chicano Studies Program. Take a look at this article: "Melendez finds history, destiny". I know she was also on the board of the local ACLU. I know she also has been taking a stand againt military recrutiers in schools. See The Blitz. Melendez attended Burgess High School in El Paso before getting her B.A. and M.A. from UTEP. She went on to get her Ph.D. at the University of California at San Diego. Currently Coordinator of Latino/Chicano Studies at Michigan State University, East Lansing.

She's co-edited several books including "Race in 21st Century America" and "Racial Liberalism and the Politics of Urban America."

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