We took the liberty of borrowing the following statement posted online by Sandra Cisneros, our local MacArtura (http://www.sandracisneros.com/macarturos.php):
"Los MacArturos" is a collective of Latino/a MacArthur Fellows. We are a self-initiated, self-organized collective. Our aim is to unite to assist one another in our individual activist efforts, and to share our creativity and expertise with la comunidad.
Originally we came together as a reunion, our purpose to inspire Latino youth. Our first reunion began in San Antonio, Texas, in October of 1997. It was called "An Ofrenda: de Alma, Corazon, y Mente." The San Antonio community members that organized this event asked us to focus on our young people, so the nature of our programs were performances and lectures, educational for the most part.
The original idea was to meet annually in every city where a Latino MacArthur Fellow lived, but the series died out after five years, though we did meet in San Jose, Los Angeles, Toledo, and Chicago.
Ten years after our first reunion, we could not have imagined the Latino community would be in such crisis. We are reviving the reunion because we feel a great urgency to reunite and assist one another, as well as to lend our collective expertise to the cities we call home.
Our efforts this time are aimed at creating a think tank, and encouraging thinking outside the box. For this purpose we are attempting to mix disciplines, and create "Dream Circles" with local and invited experts in various fields, as well as the community-at-large.
We want to encourage local genius, both young and established, to brainstorm and imagine San Antonio ten years forward. We believe that uniting in this way we will be able to leave behind a legacy of ideas. It was our experience in the past that border-crossing disciplines — that is, having labor organizers mixing with performance artists, anthropologists with voting rights specialists, etc. — allowed us to see solutions to problems in new and creative ways.
It is then with this dream of uniting our Locos, Dreamers, and Visionaries, local and invited, that we hope to dream a new San Antonio.
About the MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private, independent grantmaking institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition. Through the support it provides, the Foundation fosters the development of knowledge, nurtures individual creativity, strengthens institutions, helps improve public policy, and provides information to the public, primarily through support for public interest media.
With assets of over $6 billion and grants and program-related investments totaling approximately $225 million annually, MacArthur is one of the nation's largest private philanthropic foundations. The Foundation believes its grantmaking is most effective when focused on relatively few areas of work, combined with sufficient resources over a long enough period of time to make a measurable difference. The Foundation makes grants and loans through four programs.
The Program on Global Security and Sustainability focuses on international issues, including human rights and international justice, peace and security, conservation and sustainable development, higher education, migration, and population and reproductive health. MacArthur grantees work in 65 countries, and the Foundation has offices in India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia.
The Program on Human and Community Development addresses issues in the United States that include community and economic development; housing, with a focus on the preservation of affordable rental housing; juvenile justice reform; and education, with an emerging interest in how digital media impact learning.
The General Program supports public interest media, including public radio, television, and the production of independent documentary film. Grants are also made to arts and cultural institutions in the Chicago area and for special initiatives, currently including intellectual property rights in a digital environment.
The MacArthur Fellows Program awards five-year, unrestricted fellowships to individuals across all ages and fields who show exceptional merit and promise of continued creative work. It is limited to U.S. citizens and other residents of the United States.
John D. MacArthur (1897-1978) developed and owned Bankers Life and Casualty Company and other businesses, as well as considerable property in Florida and New York. His wife Catherine (1909-1981) held positions in many of these companies and served as a director of the Foundation.
The Foundation benefits in its work from diversity at all levels of its operations. In working with other organizations and individuals, the Foundation values those who understand and share its commitment to diversity.
Here's what the community is saying...
Los Macarturos, the Latino MacArthur Genius Grant recipients, will gather in San Antonio Oct. 4-6 for a remarkable reunion weekend of public platicas and performances. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Sandra Cisneros, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Ruth Behar, Luis Alfaro, Ramon Gutierrez, Rueben Martinez, Baldemar Velasquez, Camilo Jose Vergara, Paul Roldan, Cecilia Munoz, Amalia Mesa-Baines, Dr. Pedro Greer, MD, Maria Varela and others engaging in lively discussions about the current state of Latino art and culture.
The MacArturos, as Latino recipients of the MacArthur Foundation "genius grants" have dubbed themselves, are gathering again on the 10th anniversary of their first meeting in San Antonio to address issues facing the Latino community. "Latino Genius: Locos, Dreamers & Visionaries" will run Oct. 4-6. During the event, the 18 MacArturos — including Sandra Cisneros, anthropologist Ruthg Behar and labor organizer Baldemar Velasquez — will address issues affecting the Latino community. Discussions and performances will be held at several venues, including the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, UTSA and San Fernando Cathedral.
participants: Joan Abrahamson, community development leaderLuis Alfaro, writer and performance artistJoaquin Avila, voting rights advocateRuth Behar, cultural anthropologistJohn C. Bonifaz, lawyer and voting rights advocateSandra Cisneros, writerGuillermo Gómez-Peña, writer and interdisciplinary artistPedro José Greer Jr., physician and community health specialistRamón Gutiérrez, historianJohn Jesurun, playwright and directorRueben Martinez, booksellerAmalia Mesa-Baines, artist and cultural criticHugo Morales, radio producerCecilia Muñoz, civil rights policy analystHipolito (Paul) Roldan, community developerMaria Varela, community development leaderBaldemar Velasquez, farm labor leaderCamilo José Vergara, photographer
From Texas Public Radio:
Latin geniuses to meet in San Antonio August 2, 2007 · San Antonio is set to host a gathering of official Latino geniuses. Writer Sandra Cisneros announced that the 18 Latino MacArthur Fellows are coming to San Antonio for a historic melding of minds. The local celebration of MacArturos will be in the first week of October and there will a battery of free special events across the city. Texas Public Radio’s Yvette Benavides has the story.
Click to listen to the interview: MP3 Download