CSUSB Presents Culture Pride in America

Rick Najera, nationally acclaimed speaker and award-winning screenwriter, performer, director, producer and author, April 21

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: April 15, 2015

CSUSB Presents Culture Pride in America

Rick Najera, the nationally acclaimed speaker and award-winning screenwriter, performer, director, producer and author, will be the speaker for the Cal State San Bernardino Conversations on Diversity presentation on Tuesday, April 21.

Najera's topic will be "Culture Pride in America," and will take place from noon-1:30 p.m. in the CSUSB Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center. The presentation is free and open to the public. Parking on campus is $6.

As a pioneer in entertainment and a key media influencer, Najera's expansive range of talent includes screenwriting for television and feature films, directing sketch comedy and acclaimed theatrical stage performances.

With credits in film, television, theatre and Broadway, Najera began his artistic career as an actor, inspired and mentored by Oscar-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg, Keenen Wayans and comic legend Cheech Marin. Realizing there were few roles for him to play, the California native took matters into his own hands and started writing his way into Hollywood, landing his first major writing role on "In Living Color" in 2005.

According to the IMDb website, Najera is one of three Latinos in the history of Broadway to write and star in his own show. In 2005, he debuted in his award-winning sketch comedy show, Latinologues, the longest running showcase of its kind for Latinos in America, with 137 performances in four months, a historical achievement for a Latino-oriented show.

Najera wrote the holiday film "Nothing Like the Holidays," starring Debra Messing, Alfred Molina and John Leguizamo, which earned him an Alma Award.

He also earned two Writers Guild of America nominations for his writing on MADtv. Najera has been honored twice as one of the "100 Most Influential Latinos in America" by Hispanic Business Magazine.

Published in 2013, his book "Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood," was named the "Most Inspirational Non-Fiction Book" at the 2014 International Latino Book Awards. In his memoir, Najera explores what it means to be Latino as a Hollywood creative, offering an insider's view into his life through an ironic yet comedic lens.

For the 10th consecutive year, Najera has directed the CBS Annual Diversity Showcase and has been a regular contributor to NPR radio. As a professional speaker, he has delivered the keynote address at some of the most prestigious universities, corporations and organizations, including Harvard Law School, Wellesley College, Stanford University and Google, Inc.

The event is sponsored by the CSUSB University Diversity Committee, which has presented the speaker series three times each academic year since 2005, to facilitate dialogue among students, staff, faculty and the community about a variety of topics of diversity and inclusion.

For more information about the lecture or to arrange special accommodations, contact Twillea Carthen-Evans at (909) 537-5138, or Mary Texeira at (909) 537-5547.

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