For immediate release | January 9, 2012

Garza de Cortés to deliver Call-to-Action address at 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunrise Celebration

CHICAGO – Oralia Garza de Cortés, past-president of REFORMA (the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking) and children’s literacy advocate, will deliver the Call to Action at the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunrise Celebration, held during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Dallas. The celebration will take place from 6:30 - 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 23 in Room A2 of the Dallas Convention Center.

As a librarian and advocate, Garza de Cortés has been a leading voice for multicultural children’s literature and library services for Latino children and families for more than 30 years. She was the first Latina elected to the Executive Board of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), during which time she co-founded the Pura Belpré Award, the premier children’s literature award presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator. Additionally, she has served on several prestigious children’s book award committees, including the Caldecott Award Selection Committee. Through her work with REFORMA, she played a leading role in establishing and promoting El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), an annual nationwide literacy event that celebrates children, books, languages and culture throughout the United States. A native of Brownsville, Texas, Garza de Cortés has a master's degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin. She has worked as a children’s librarian for the San Antonio, Austin and Houston public library systems throughout her career.

The Call to Action portion of the celebration provides an opportunity for a member of the profession to reflect on the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King and its importance in our professional efforts.

Garza de Cortés joins keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Lewis V. Baldwin, professor of religious studies at Vanderbilt University and editor of “’Thou Dear God’: Prayers That Open Hearts and Spirits” (Beacon, 2011), the first and only collection of 68 prayers by Dr. King. Dr. Baldwin’s participation in the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Sunrise Celebration is made possible through the generous support of Beacon Press and Random House, Inc.

The theme of the 2012 celebration will be “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Honoring a Legacy that Still Inspires” and will bring together leaders from the across the association, including 2011-12 ALA President Molly Raphael and ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. Featured readings will include selections from the works of Dr. King.

The program is sponsored by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force of the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and is supported by the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS).

Light refreshments will be served thanks to the generous sponsorship of World Book, Inc. Attendance is open to all attendees of the 2012 ALA Midwinter Meeting. For more information, please visit

The ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) is a unit within the American Library Association. It works to make ALA more democratic and to establish progressive priorities not only for the Association, but also for the entire profession. Concern for human and economic rights was an important element in the founding of SRRT and remains an urgent concern today. SRRT believes that libraries and librarians must recognize and help solve social problems and inequities in order to carry out their mandate to work for the common good and bolster democracy. SRRT’s main website is hosted at

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), an affiliate of the American Library Association, serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation's African American community; and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians. To learn more about BCALA, please visit

Beacon Press is an independent publisher of serious non-fiction and fiction. Beacon’s books often change the way readers think about fundamental issues; they promote such values as freedom of speech and thought; diversity, religious pluralism, and anti-racism; and respect for diversity in all areas of life. Beacon Press is partnering with the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. in a new publishing program, "The King Legacy," to print new editions of previously published King titles and compile Dr. King's writings, sermons, orations, lectures, and prayers into entirely new editions, including significant new introductions by leading scholars. To learn more about Beacon Press, please visit

World Book sets the standard in publishing accurate, current and reliable reference and learning materials for children and adults. Based in Chicago, World Book is committed to creating educational products that meet the highest standards of editorial excellence in print and online. This commitment has resulted in a wide range of products including the number-one selling The World Book Encyclopedia and the World Book Web, which is the most comprehensive and authoritative online solution to meet the diverse learning needs of students and includes the World Book Online Reference Center,, World Book Kids, and World Book Advanced.