The annual César Chávez Lecture Series at Hope College will feature the keynote address "Children in the Fields - Sowing the Seeds of Change" by Norma Flores López on Thursday, March 31, at 4 p.m. in the MaasCenter auditorium.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

López is director of the Children in the Fields Campaign with the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP).  AFOP has declared 2011 the "Year of the Farmworker Child" to raise awareness of the hardships faced by migrant farmworker youth in the United States.

López has long been an active advocate for migrant farmworker children's rights and continues to raise awareness of migrant farmworker issues across the country in her current role. She has also had the opportunity testify to Congress and has appeared on national news outlets on issues related to child labor in agriculture. In addition to her years of experience as an advocate, Norma has invaluable firsthand experience with farmworker issues, since she grew up as a child of a migrant farmworker family from South Texas and began working in the fields at the age of 12.

Prior to joining at AFOP in 2009, López worked managing national and local clients at public relations firms. She graduated from the University of Texas Pan-American in Edinburg, Texas, with a B.A. in communications and studied abroad at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain.

The César Chávez celebration at Hope is named in honor of César E. Chávez (1927-93), who played a leading role in the 1960s in organizing the nation's migrant farm workers, and was the first head of the National Farm Workers Association, later the United Farm Workers. March 31, his birthday, is the official César E. Chávez Day of Service and Learning, which is a holiday in multiple states, including Michigan, and dozens of cities and counties throughout the nation.  The lecture series is organized by the college's Office of Multicultural Education with additional sponsorship by a variety of programs at Hope.

A reception will follow the address.

The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street.