Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct that Hollywood is dominated by white men.
Award-winning actress, singer, dancer and “West Side Story” star Rita Moreno will speak at the University of Colorado Boulder later this month.
CU Boulder’s Cultural Events Board will host Moreno at 7 p.m., Sept. 20 for a free, event at the Glenn Miller Ballroom, according to a news release from CU Boulder.
Students, faculty and staff will be given first priority and will be ushered into the venue first, the release said. Community members interested in attending this event will be ushered in after.
Moreno, a best-selling author, is one of only 17 performers to have won at least one each of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, all of the major entertainment awards.
From her acting debut during Hollywood’s Golden Age, to her roles in more recent roles in shows like “Jane the Virgin,” Moreno has long been an advocate for breaking racial stereotypes and shining a light on Latin American culture for the broader community, the release said.
Cole Metcalf, a speakers coordinator with the CU Boulder Cultural Events Board, said the board was drawn to Moreno not only because of her career in theater but because of her experience working as a woman and a woman of color in an industry dominated by white men.
“I think what a (person of color) can do to claim your space and to be powerful is something (Moreno) could speak on,” he said.
Moreno is the first speaker the Cultural Events Board has hosted this school year, Metcalf said. For this year, the board hopes to find diverse speakers who will be able to talk to students and the community about specific issues or topics.
“I think our goal is not only to educate students on campus about the world but also to give people on campus voices and have them feel recognized,” he said. “I think the indigenous (culture) is a big thing since this area was (historically occupied by the) Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. Our whole thing with (the Cultural Events Board) is to do things with marginalized groups, and we want to give a voice to everyone.”
When Metcalf learned about an Asian American person in the community who brought his family to see actor Simu Liu, known for his role in Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” on campus earlier this year it meant a lot to him, he said.
That person’s kids were thrilled when they watched the Marvel Studio film, which starred the first Asian-Canadian actor, because Liu looked like them, Metcalf said.
That’s what having these speakers on campus is all about.
“Experiences like that are what we have to give to the Boulder community and the Boulder (campus),” Metcalf said. “Like, ‘wow I actually felt represented in superhero land’.”