Jess Nieto Memorial Conference

Jes Nieto Memorial Conference; Celebrating Art, Education and Activism.

The Jess Nieto Memorial Conference is an annual event honoring the memory of Professor Jesus "Jess" Gilberto Nieto. A noted internationalist, entrepreneur, civil rights activist, and educational leader, Nieto was responsible for establishing a Chicano Studies program and Chicano Cultural Center at Bakersfield College and was the first advisor for the campus' MEChA chapter. His influence and legacy at BC are still visible in the college's course offerings related to Latinx history and experience as well as various student organizations and services on campus. In the spirit of Professor Nieto's work, this conference focuses on Chicano/a/x, Latino/a/x, and regional cultures and histories, Ethnic Studies, community service and activism, pedagogical practices, and student thought and identity.

If you wish to donate to support next year's Nieto Conference, visit the Bakersfield College Foundation's donation page. To ensure that your donation goes to the correct account, select "Other" and enter "Jess Nieto Memorial Conference Fund" in the box asking you to identify the fund you wish to support, or you can make your donation by phone by calling (661) 395-4800.

5th Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference Schedule

The Jess Nieto Memorial Conference will take place May 4 through May 6 and will include programming celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. All of the programming this year is made possible in part by funding from the Whiting Foundation. All events are free and open to the public. If you require special accommodations, please contact Andrew Bond via email in advance at:

Thursday, May 4, 2023 at the Levan Center for the Humanities, Panorama Campus

3:00-3:10 PM

Conference Welcome, Land Acknowledgment, and Dedication to the Memory of Dr. Jess Nieto

3:10-3:50 PM

Panel: The Return of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán
A student panel of current officers and members of BC's recently revived MEChA chapter speaking about the student organization's national history and its past, present, and future at Bakersfield College.

3:50-4:30 PM

Panel:Latinos Unidos Por Educacion at Bakersfield College
A student panel featuring members of L.U.P.E. who will talk about the club's purpose and their experiences as members.

4:30-5:00 PM

Reception - Heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served.

5:00-6:00 PM

Norman Levan Hispanic and Native American Culture Award Scholarship Ceremony and Presentations
Dr. Reggie Williams, Director of the Normal Levan Center for the Humanities, will honor this year's recipients of the Hispanic and Native American Culture Award scholarship. The winners will then give presentations of the work they submitted for the award.

6:00-7:00 PM

Special Presentation: Two Actos from the Early Works of Luis Valdez
Coming off of their recent run of three works by acclaimed Chicano playwright and founder of El Teatro Campesino, Luis Valdez, student performers from BC's Theatre Arts program will present two short plays by Valdez under the direction of Professor Kimberly Chin. Dr. Abraham Castillo will present on the historical significance of the works and El Teatro Campesino before the performances. Disclaimer: the works to be performed contain vulgar language, references to drug and alcohol use, and depictions of violence. Viewer discretion is advised.

Invitation to May 5th and 6th conference events in Delano

Friday, May 5, 2023 at the Robert F. Kennedy High School Auditorium, Delano

9:00-9:20 AM

Refreshments in front of auditorium

9:30-10:00 AM

Nieto Conference Day 2 and AAPI Heritage Celebration Welcome and Land Acknowledgment

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Nieto Conference Faculty Spotlight
Bakersfield College anthropology professor Janaki Parikh will talk about her life and journey to a career in higher education, her work in the Rising Scholars Program, and the field of anthropology.

10:15-11:00 AM

A Screening of Walking into the Unknown: Punjabi Women in California
After a brief introduction via Zoom by Dr. Nicole Ranganath, documentarian and Assistant Professor of Middle East/South Asian Studies at the University of California at Davis, we will screen her film, Walking into the Unknown: Punjabi Women in California. A Q&A session moderated by Professor Parikh will follow the film presentation.

Invitation to May 6th events at the Bakersfield College Delano Campus

Saturday, May 6, 2023 at Bakersfield College, Delano Campus

8:30-9:00 AM

Refreshments served in the main lobby

9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Nieto Conference Day 3 and AAPI Heritage Celebration Welcome and Land Acknowledgment

Tours of Historical and Cultural Heritage Sites in Delano
Alex Edillor and Roger Gadiano from the Filipino American National Historical Society's Delano chapter will conduct bus tours of historically and culturally significant sites in Delano. There will be two identical, approximately 90-minute tours departing from the BC Delano parking lot at 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM. In order to ensure you and those in your party get seats on the bus (and we have an accurate headcount to reserve the proper number of buses from the local school district), you should register for the tour and the lunch afterward by April 29, 2023.

Documentary Screenings
Three documentaries will be screened throughout the morning and during lunch in each of three designated classrooms. The running time of each film is under 30 minutes, and they are:

  • Delano Manongs: The Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers Movement
    Director Marissa Aroy's film about the Filipino workers who initiated the famed Delano Grape Strike in the 1960s under the leadership of Larry Itliong, leading to the formation of the UFW in collaboration with Mexican farm laborers led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.
  • Letter from Delano: A Determined Nonviolent Struggle
    This documentary was produced in partnership by Bakersfield College, the Cesar Chavez Foundation, and the Patel Foundation. On a walking tour of major historical sites in Delano and at the Cesar Chavez National Monument in Keene, California, speech writer to Cesar Chavez and Farmworker Movement historian Marc Grossman speaks to BC and Cesar Chavez High School students about the influence of Mahatma Ghandi's philosophy of nonviolence on the UFW's activism and Cesar Chavez's practices as a leader.
  • Walking into the Unknown: Punjabi Women in California
    In this documentary, Dr. Nicole Ranganath presents the history of Punjabi immigration to the American west and focuses specifically on the contributions of Punjabi women. The film highlights Punjabi women's roles in establishing a sense of community in a new country, among other accomplishments.

Student and Faculty Displays
BC student and faculty projects and artwork will be on display throughout the building.

Tabling by Local Non-Profits, Community Partners, and Student Organizations
Representatives from local and student organizations will be on site to offer information about the work they do and how you can possibly get involved.

12:00-1:00 PM

Mexican food (burritos) will be provided for lunch. Please use the bus tour registration survey above to give us information about your meal preferences and to let us know how many servings of food we need to order.

1:00-2:00 PM

Teatro Returns to Delano
To finish our conference, student performers from BC's Theatre Arts program will present two of Luis Valdez's short plays in the style of El Teatro Campesino under the direction of Professor Kimberly Chin. Delano is the birthplace of teatro, an artform that educated and entertained farmworkers in the fields, and, weather permitting, these performances will take place outside on campus. Dr. Abraham Castillo will present on the historical significance of the works and El Teatro Campesino before the performances.

2:00-2:30 PM

Conference Closing and Acknowledgment of Participants and Contributors

BC Bakersfield College Co-sponsored event.

Disclaimer: Comments, views and opinions expressed during this event are those of the speakers or entities and do not necessarily represent Bakersfield College. To learn more about Bakersfield College and our institutional mission, vision, and core values, visit About BC.