Arts and Letters Lecture Series

Arts & Letters is a free series that invites the community to spend time with today's most influential authors through interviews and personal readings. Conversations are facilitated by Tod Goldberg, the program director for UCR Palm Desert's Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts. 

6 p.m. Feb. 21, 2024

Arts & Letters: An Evening with Sgt. Aquilino Gonell

A man in a suit

Spend an evening with Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, formerly of the U.S. Capitol Police and author of the recent memoir, AMERICAN SHIELD: The Immigrant Sergeant Who Defended Democracy. He will be in conversation with Tod Goldberg, New York Times bestselling author and director of UCR Palm Desert’s low-residency MFA program.

The discussion will include Sgt. Gonell’s perspective from inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, as well as the joys and struggles of the immigrant experience in the U.S.  

Born in the Dominican Republic, Aquilino Gonell came to America as a child and became the first in his family to graduate college. After serving in the U.S. Army, including in Iraq, he joined the United States Capitol Police. On Jan. 6, 2021, he defended the Capitol from a violent and deadly attack, sustaining serious injuries and trauma.