AUSTIN, Texas—Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, associate professor in the School of Journalism and founder and director of the U.S. Latino and Latina WWII Oral History Project at The University of Texas at Austin, received the Ruben Salazar Award for Communications from the National Council of La Raza at the organization's 2007 annual conference in Miami last week (July 24).
The Ruben Salazar Award is given each year to an individual who has dedicated his or her life to promoting a positive portrayal of Latino historical, political, economic and cultural contributions to American society. It is named in honor of the journalist killed in 1970 by a policeman's tear gas projectile while covering an anti-war march in East Los Angeles.
In 1982, Rivas-Rodriguez helped establish the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. In 1999, she initiated the U.S. Latino and Latina WWII Oral History Project. This archive features the previously untold stories of nearly 560 Latinos, Latinas and their struggles in World War II through audio, video and historical documents, such as letters, photos, discharge papers and newspaper clippings. This material is housed in two University of Texas at Austin units, the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection and the Center for American History.
Rivas-Rodriguez has more than 17 years of daily news experience with the Boston Globe, WFAA-TV in Dallas and the Dallas Morning News, most recently as bureau chief of its El Paso border bureau covering border states.
Rivas-Rodriguez gained national prominence this year in leading protests against the forthcoming PBS documentary, "The War," directed by Ken Burns and partly funded with taxpayer money, which did not include any Latinos. As a result of the efforts of a grass-roots group and Latino organizations and individuals, Burns has incorporated Latino stories into the 14-hour, seven-part documentary, which will air in September.