On Oct. 27, Demetria Mart'nez, longtime writer for the National Catholic Reporter and accomplished poet, novelist, essayist and short-story writer, received the prestigious Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature by the University of California, Santa Barbara.
This award is given annually to a writer of Chicano/Latino literature who has achieved a national and international reputation. It is named after Professor Luis Leal, one of the early champions of Chicano literature in the United States who taught at UC Santa Barbara for many years.
Mart'nez is certainly very deserving of the award. Her most noted work is her novel Mother Tongue, which deals with the migration of Central American political refugees in the 1980s because of the civil wars in countries such as El Salvador. It also concerns the role of the Sanctuary Movement in attempting to assist these refugees.