When Lalo Delgado immigrated to America with his parents at the age of twelve, he spoke no English and couldnt read or write. It was a pretty hardscrabble beginning for a boy who went on to become a poet, a professor and a towering figure in the Chicano community. During his life, Delgado was a passionate advocate of immigrants rights who worked with César Chávez and Dolores Huerta; an author of fourteen notable volumes that remain some of the earliest and best examples of the Chicano literary movement; and an educator who worked to start Chicano Studies programs at universities all over the southwestern United States.
Shortly after his death in 2004, Delgado was posthumously given the title of Denvers first poet laureate, and his legacy has lived on in people like Christina Sigala, chair of the Lalo Delgado Poetry Festival at Metropolitan State College. He was my first professor when I started college, she recalls, and he made a very direct impact on me, just by telling me that I was smart and I needed to go to college. Now Im finishing my doctorate. He really gave a voice to those of us who did not have voices in academia.
The festival takes place today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the St. Cajetans Event Center on the Auraria campus. Metro will celebrate Delgados life and career (he taught there for seventeen years) with a variety of events led by Chicano scholar Joe Navarro and punctuated with appearances by Delgados family, Metro officials and Lieutenant Governor Joseph Garcia, along with numerous readings and tributes from local poets. All events are free; for more information, call Metros Chicano Studies department at 303-556-3124.
Mon., April 25, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 2011