Father Luis Olivares: Faith, Politics, and the Origins of the Sanctuary Movement in Los Angeles
Mario T. García, Distinguished Professor of History and Chicana and Chicano Studies University of California, Santa Barbara
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 | 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Zimmerman Library, Waters Room
Join the UNM Department of Sociology and campus partners for a special presentation with Dr. Mario T.
García, Distinguished Professor of History and Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California,
Santa Barbara, as he discusses his forthcoming book, Father Luis Olivares: A Biography - Faith, Politics,
and the Origins of the Sanctuary Movement in Los Angeles (University of North Carolina Press, 2018).
This is the amazing untold story of the Los Angeles sanctuary movement's champion, Father Luis Olivares
(1934–1993), a Catholic priest and a charismatic, faith-driven leader for social justice. Beginning in 1980
and continuing for most of the decade, hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees
made the hazardous journey to the United States, seeking asylum from political repression and violence in
their home states. Instead of being welcomed by the "country of immigrants," they were rebuffed by the
Reagan administration, which supported the governments from which they fled. To counter this policy, a
powerful sanctuary movement rose up to provide safe havens in churches and synagogues for thousands
of Central American refugees.
Based on previously unexplored archives and over ninety oral histories, this compelling biography traces
the life of a complex and constantly evolving individual, from Olivares’s humble beginnings in San Antonio,
Texas, to his close friendship with legendary civil rights leader César Chávez and his historic leadership of
the United Neighborhoods Organization and the sanctuary movement.
This event is free and open to the public.
Department of Sociology, Latin American and Iberian Institute, Center for Southwest Research, Center for Regional Studies, Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, Department of History, Center for Social Policy, Religious Studies Program, School of Law