BC’s upcoming Nieto memorial conference

Anthony Vasquez, Reporter

For about the past five years, history professor Oliver Rosales, along with English professor Andrew Bond, have organized a conference at BC as a form of a memorial tribute to Jesus Gilberto Nieto. The annual conference is set to be held this year from Tuesday, March 29 to Thursday, March 31. 

When asking Rosales about the upcoming conference he stated, “In brief, the conference began as a memorial tribute idea at the funeral of Jesus Gilberto Nieto, or Jess as he was known to all.  Myself, along with Octavio Barajas (prof[essor] of Ethnic Studies at College of the Sequoias) and Gonzalo Santos (prof[essor] of Sociology at CSUB) decided to try and organize a one-day conference celebrating Jess’s diverse and significant legacy within the field of Chicano Studies, international education, and civil rights and social justice activism.” 

He mentioned that throughout the years of holding the conference, he has seen significant growth. “Professor Andrew Bond (prof[essor] of English at BC) and I have co-directed the conference each year since we began in 2018 (we took a one-year hiatus in 2020 because of COVID[-19] and have brought in numerous speakers, academics, activists, student leaders, and artists from across the United States,” he stated. 

Rosales has also made it clear that this year’s conference will be significant, he plans to host professor Manuel Vargas, who is not only a philosophy professor at UC San Diego but also a protégé of Jess Nieto. Professor Vargas plans to talk about his academic journey from being a student at BC to a professor within the UC system. 

Professor José Luis Benavides of CSU Northridge will also be attending the conference. He has directed the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center, and he is planning on presenting his recent $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, to digitize farm worker movement photography from Delano within the 1960s.

Other things, such as a short new documentary film featuring local students at BC touring historic sites in Kern County, mostly relating to the farmworker movement, a student art showcase event, which will be hosted by a Fresno-based virtual dj and emcee OMEDJ, a research panel focusing about Latino/a Studies, and a student leadership panel that will be organized by the Latinas Unidas at Bakersfield College, are all programmed to be included in the conference.