“It’s Javier, not Javier”

Guest speaker Javier Avila joins NU for National Hispanic Heritage month

Blake Brown

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – On Thursday Sept. 14, the Office of Multicultural Affairs held an event featuring poet, comedian and author Javier Avila. The event was held in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage month as Avila presented his comedy bit called, “The Trouble with My Name.” Avila gave accounts regarding the struggles of race, speaking with an accent and dealing with stereotypes in society. Students who attended the event were given raffle tickets for a chance to win a 32 inch TV.

Aside from being a poet and author, Avila was once a teacher. His career began in the Caribbean as an english teacher at the University of Puerto Rico. In 2015, when he moved to Pennsylvania to continue his teaching career, he was awarded the Pennsylvania Professor of the Year. As for his poetry and authorship, Avila  gained international recognition from his bestselling novel, “Different,” that soon became a motion picture shown in over a dozen countries.

Avila’s bit, “Trouble with My Name,” suited National Hispanic Heritage month perfectly. It touched on the struggles of dealing with stereotypes surrounding minorities and people with accents. Mainly, the focus surrounded ways to be more considerate of people with backgrounds different from our own. The name of the segment comes from a lifelong struggle with people wrongfully making assumptions about Avila based off of his name. For the record, it’s Javier (Ha-VEE-er) not Javier (Jay-VEE-er).

“One time I was outside my brand new house trimming my bushes and my neighbor asked me how much I charged an hour,” Avila continued, “I jokingly answered $500. My neighbor looked at me like I was crazy and said ‘my guy Jose does it for way cheaper I think I’ll stick with him’.”

Avila’s show embraces the diversity of this nation and seeks to transcend boundaries of race, ethnicity and geography.

More information on Avila and his upcoming shows can be found online at http://www.javieravila.net.

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