About the Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center
Established in 1976, the Latino Cultural Center (LCC) was the first cultural center at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The center was born out of a mid-1970s movement which also sparked the emergence of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program in 1974 and the Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services Program in 1975. The LCC emerged as the third pillar of this movement thanks to visionary Latinx students, faculty, staff, and community members, who fought tirelessly for a cultural center to support the academic growth of the increasing Latinx student population on campus. The LCC was named after the late Rafael Cintrón Ortiz, a Puerto Rican professor who unconditionally supported the creation of the center and was an inspirational figure to students on campus.
The Latino Cultural Center (LCC) engages campus and local communities to deepen understanding of the diverse cultural heritages and identities of Latinxs, issues affecting their lives, and creative solutions they are using to improve community life. The LCC offers engaged learning co-curricular opportunities that feature cultural and artistic expressions, intercultural and civic dialogues, scholarly presentations, and first-voice stories.
The Latino Cultural Center:
- Offers social and environmental justice Civic Dialogues and Tours of our mural El Despertar de las Américas (the largest contemporary indoor mural in Chicago) to connect UIC courses material to community challenges and solutions.
- Connects UIC campus with community leaders, artists, and cultural institutions through public programs including: Zona Abierta, Civic Cinema, Noche de Poetas, ARTivism, and Special Programs.
- Coordinates and supervises internships for the Heritage Garden and lends its expertise in collaborative projects including L@S GANAS for STEM students.
Our Guiding Principles and Practices
These principles shape the work of the Latino Cultural Center:
- Personal and group identity is always in flux and shaped by social circumstances through interactions among the diverse members of a community, and between those members and outsiders;
- Culturally-specific museums and cultural centers have the potential to shape personal and community identity in meaningful ways when they help their members link the past to contemporary life; and
- Solidarity across historically marginalized communities in the U.S. and globally is paramount to advocate for social and environmental justice. Therefore, we are committed to respecting intersectional identities and affirming differences of racial/ethnic, class, disability, gender, sexuality, immigration status, and religion.