When Orlando joins us he will have just returned from Cuba, his homeland. He is researching “his immigrant grandparents, involving family history, the social forces that gave impulse to migration to Cuba and other Latin American countries, and the developing significance of these processes to my life as an immigrant. Orlando will share this research with us during Adult Forum on July 22 and 29, and reflect on why this kind of research seems so important to some and so unimportant to others.

Orlando Rodriguez was born in Havana Cuba in 1942. Together with his parents, he emigrated to New York City as a young adolescent, four years before the Cuban Revolution began. He has lived all his life in NYC, where he attended public schools, the College of the City of New York and Columbia University. He received his PhD in Sociology from Columbia in 1974. He began his professional career as Assistant Professor at Brooklyn College, subsequently becoming Research Associate at Vera Institute of Justice, where he developed an expertise in crime and justice issues among Hispanic populations. He entered Fordham University as a Research Associate of the Hispanic Research Center, later becoming its Director. He is currently a Professor at Fordham’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, where he continues his research on crime and justice issues among Hispanic populations.

Orlando received his elementary education at Central Methodist College in Havana, and together with his parents was a member of Havana’s Central Methodist Church. He rejoined the Methodist Church in 2007, when he became a member of Memorial United Methodist Church in White Plains. At Memorial, he is Chair of Church and World activities as well as this year’s lay member of the New York Annual Conference. Through his membership at Memorial, he became a volunteer professor of sociology of religion at Rising Hope, an undergraduate program that offers a Certificate in Ministry and Human Services to inmates of several New York State prisons. He has been a lay preacher at Memorial since 2008.