Sonia Manzano, who portrayed Maria on TV’s “Sesame Street” for 44 years, and Angel Colon, a survivor of the June 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting, will speak at Ohio Wesleyan University this month as part of the Summit of Ohio Latinx (SOL) Conference.
Manzano will speak at 7 p.m. April 21 in the atrium of Schimmel/Conrades Science Center, 90 S. Henry St., Delaware. Colon will speak at 1 p.m. April 22 in Room 301 of Merrick Hall, 65 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Both presentations are free and open to the public.
Manzano will share her life story, growing up in a poor Puerto Rican family and becoming one of the most influential Latinas in television through her role on PBS’s “Sesame Street.” After her presentation, she will sign copies of her autobiography, “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx,” and her children’s books, which will be available for purchase at the event.
Throughout the years, Manzano has earned 15 Emmy awards for writing television scripts and received other awards including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Award, the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education, and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Daytime Emmy Awards.
Colon, a member of both the Hispanic and LGBTQ communities, will share his life story, including the night he was shot six times in his leg, side, and hand during the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. The shooting – the deadliest in U.S. history – killed 49 people and left 53 wounded.
Colon will discuss the importance of embracing diversity, respecting people’s differences, and rising above in times of trouble.
As a survivor, he is now working with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and traveling around the nation discussing topics such as gun violence and minority issues.
“One minute I was having fun and the next, I was shot multiple times and fighting for my life,” Colon told People Magazine. “I was shot by a man who never should have had a gun. … I’m just grateful to be here. It’s basically a second chance in life. I’m doing anything I can, and helping others as much as I can. I can share my message and my story and try to change the world.”
Learn more about Manzano at http://soniamanzano.com and more about Colon at www.apbspeakers.com.
The Summit of Ohio Latinx (SOL) Conference was created in 2016 to bring together Latinx college students and their allies from around the state to discuss academic, social, economic, educational, and political topics impacting the Latinx population. Learn more at www.owu.edu/SOLconference.