Viggiani, Flavia Steiner
Sylvia Valenzuela (b. November 17, 1899, in Chile d. May 5,
Activist for the Latino community
Julia Valenzuela was a Chilean teacher who came to this country in her fifties. She made a significant contribution to Latinos in Cambridge and in the surrounding cities. As a retired teacher, she was concerned with education and was the first Latina to coordinate training in Spanish for day care providers through the Cambridge Children Resource Center (CCRC ). Valenzuela also was president of the board of “Fun Ages” Day Care Providers. She founded and organized the first Latino conference on day care.
She was an active and committed member of the Substance Abuse Task Force and the Cambridge Latino Commission. She organized Latinos in the campaign for voting rights and provided support to the Latino elderly at the Cambridge Senior Center. Governor Michael Dukakis honored her for her devotion and extensive work on behalf of Latino children. On her death, a resolution was passed in her honor by the Cambridge City Council.
Reference: Nomination materials from Sylvia S. Keber.
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Steiner Viggiani (b. in Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Educator, actress, singer
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Flavia Steiner Viggiani received her degree in early childhood and elementary education from Colegio de Educacion Superior. She then studied theater and drama at the Escuela Nacional de Arte Dramatico. Flavia first became politically active when she joined the Argentine“Peace and Justice” organization led by Adolfo Perez Esquivel, the winner of the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize. During the last de-facto government in Argentina, she participated in demonstrations organized by the Human Rights Movement know as “Madres de Plaza de Mayo,” demonstrating for the “disappeared” young people who were thrown into prison or killed by death squads for political activity. She also was involved with the organization “Arts in Education,” participating in various seminars that included the teaching of the renowned educators Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal.
Flavia Viggiani teaches in the combined 5-6 grade of the Amigos program at the Kennedy School in Cambridge in a two-way full immersion Spanish/English classroom. She shares her class of twenty students with an English-speaking teaching partner. Involved in theater and music herself, she arranged an African dance production for sixth graders. When her teacher friends in Argentina told her about an impoverished, isolated school in the Andes mountains of northern Argentina operating without government support, she involved students throughout the Kennedy school in “Operacion Larcas,” collecting funds, school supplies, and winter clothing for the school.
She has also made her name as an actress and singer. In December 2000, she sang at the Millenium stage of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington as part of the Latin-American group “Sonabo,” performing innovative arrangements of traditional Latin American songs. An actress, she has performed with TheatreZone in Federico Lorca’s play, “The House of Bernardo Alba” during the second “Lorca in the Park” festival in 2004, and in Jeff Goode's play “Anger Box” in Chelsea in 2003.
References: online sites: http://www.learner.org/channel/workshops/nextmove/teachers/flavia.html; http://www.kennedycenter.org/programs/millennium/artist_detail.cfm?artist_id=SONABOBOBO
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Women's Heritage Project
March 27, 2007