Luis "El Machete" Valdez Speaker Series

The Luis “El Machete” Valdez Annual Speakers Series honors the work and accomplishments of people of Mexican ancestry in the areas of social justice, community involvement, culture, politics, and the arts. Past speakers have included Luis Valdez, Blanca Alvarado, and Dr. José Carrasco. 

This year’s guest speakers will be the members of the San José-based Flor del Pueblo, one of the most influential musical ensembles of the Chicana/o Movement, whose music inspired activism for social justice with local roots and intergenerational reach. 

Formed in the 1970’s through their participation with different South Bay teatro chicano groups--including El Teatro Campesino--the members of Flor del Pueblo, (Ed Robledo, Deborah Rodríguez, Felipe Rodríguez, Francisco Rodríguez, Ben Cadena, Yolanda Pérez, Ramiro Pérez, Enrique Castillo, Clay Shanrock, and Richard Garcia) found a meaningful avenue of engagement through the arts with the ideals of the movimiento Chicano. Members of the group were active at numerous events, including being on stage at the Chicano Moratorium on August 29, 1970, when police violence broke a peaceful demonstration. Their 1977 recorded album, Música de Nuestra América, established a new sound of movimiento music with the incorporation of Latin American protest music influences on Chicana/o Movement music as well as the group's unique vocal style.

Through their personal recollections, learn more about their growth as a musical ensemble through the themes of familia, female empowerment, and the popular arts. Discover how their music is part of what Dr. Russell C. Rodríguez explains as the, “vibrant soundscapes of chants, gritos, prayers, poetry, and music...that highlighted the resilience of [the Chicano community], how they maintained culture, promoted consciousness, celebrated, and preserved dignity.

Co-sponsored by SJSU Chicana and Chicano Studies Department, Aspire/McNair Trio Programs, La Raza Historical Society of Santa Clara Valley, SJSU School of Music and Dance, the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Sociology & Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at SJSU.