UTEP to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

By Lisa Y. Garibay

UTEP News Service

Dozens of students from a variety of on-campus groups, classes and points of interest joined other spectators in the Union Cinema Tuesday for a very special screening. Filmmaker John Valadez brought his recently completed PBS documentary War and Peace to UTEP to play for the first time in front of an audience, weeks before its air date as part of PBS’s new “Latino Americans” series.

This event was among those planned by UTEP’s Chicano Studies department and key community partners for Hispanic Heritage Month 2013, which has been commemorated nationally since 1968, first as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, then expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a full month.This painting by noted El Paso artist, WWII veteran, and Chicano activist Ernesto P. Martinez depicts  the interface between Mexican and American cultures. It is being used as the main image for the Hispanic Heritage Month activites calendar.This painting by noted El Paso artist, WWII veteran, and Chicano activist Ernesto P. Martinez depicts the interface between Mexican and American cultures. It is being used as the main image for the Hispanic Heritage Month activites calendar.

During his post-screening Q&A, Valadez noted that while television has been around since the 50s and the struggle for equal rights for Hispanic/Latino Americans in the United States has been in effect since the 60s, “Latino Americans” marks the first time that a documentary series specifically focusing on the contributions of Hispanic-Americans has ever been produced and aired.

UTEP’s Hispanic Heritage Month will present many more opportunities for both students and the general public to learn more about how the United States has been changed and cultivated (sometimes literally, as in the case of farm workers who were led to more humane working conditions by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta) by Americans of Latin American decent.

“Given our locality, we have a celebration that spans over two months to accommodate the over 50 events that we have on the calendar,” said Director of Chicano Studies Dennis Bixler-Márquez, Ph.D. “UTEP has been at the vanguard of this celebration given our demographic profile, taking stock of where the Hispanic population is in this country. Many other entities have initiated this celebration around the country, but we are out in front because we have nearly double the amount of activities and also have a binational dimension to our celebration given the sponsored activities and work we do with institutions on both sides of the border.”

Bixler-Marquez noted that UTEP’s grito ceremony on Sept. 13 commemorating Mexico’s declaration of independence stands out as one-of-a-kind among national celebrations by including a traditional Mexican drum and bugle corps.

“It adds a military tone and solemnity to the occasion that could not be replicated without it,” Bixler-Marquez said. “This is one of the benefits of being so close to the border. It’s also a great gesture of welcome to the Mexican national students who attend UTEP.”

This year’s on-campus celebration is dedicated to the memory of Mexican-American teacher Sal Castro, who died earlier this year. In 1968, he led a successful walk-out by students from all East Los Angeles high schools demanding equal educational opportunities for Chicano/Hispanic students and better representation among school boards and administrative staff. Edward James Olmos directed the 2006 film Walkout dramatizing these events. Castro was portrayed by actor Michael Peña.

“He became a cause célèbre not only for his leadership but also his political dissidence,” said Bixler-Marquez. “He is really an icon of the Hispanic community because of his attempt to improve the education of Hispanics. He couldn’t believe that people were getting beaten up for demanding to have a better education.”

Hispanic Heritage Month events included under the banner of UTEP’s Hispanic Heritage Month are:

-        “Asylum Immigration in the Borderland” (Noon, Monday, Sept. 9) by Las Américas Immigrant Advocacy Center, Old Main Building, Room 110. Sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Las Américas Immigrant Advocacy Center. Contact: 915-747-5505.

-        Exhibit/Lecture: “Erika Harrsch: United States of North America Passport Application” (3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11), Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts. Sponsored by the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts and the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies. Contact: 915-747-6164.

-        “UTEP’s Grito Ceremony: Commemoration of the Declaration of Mexican Independence” (11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13, Union Plaza) Sponsored by the Consulado General de México en El Paso, Chicano Studies, the Division of Student Affairs, Union Services, International Programs, the Department of Languages and Linguistics, the Office of the President and the Student Government Association. Contact: 915-747-5664.

-        Basic Repujado Workshop by María Almeida Natividad, Chicano Studies Artist-in-Residence (1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14), La Fe Culture and Technology Center, 721 S. Ochoa, Rear Building. Limited capacity; please call to make a reservation. All supplies will be provided. Sponsored by La Fe Culture and Technology Center and Chicano Studies. Contact: 915-545-7226 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

-        “4th Annual Child Welfare Law CLE” (8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19). Keynote speakers: Ira Chasnoff, M.D., Children’s Research Triangle, Chicago, and Cheryl Sawyer, Ed.D., University of Houston, Clear Lake, Houston. Tomás Rivera Conference Center, Union Building East, Third Floor. Sponsored by El Paso County Attorney, El Paso County Texas Juvenile Justice Department, El Paso Children’s Hospital, The Bair Foundation Child & Family Ministries, 65th District Court, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Child Protective Services, El Paso Independent School District, Cenpatico, UTEP’s Department of Social Work, and UTEP’s Law School Preparation Institute. To register, contact Martha Alvarado at 915-546-8160 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

-        Lecture: “Ancient Art, New Images: Buon Fresco” by Artist Frederico Vigil (12 – 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19). Auditorium, Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts. Sponsored by the Department of Art and the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts. Contact: 915-747-5176 or 915-747-6164.

-        “Third Annual International Day of Peace” (10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20), Union Breezeway. Sponsored by the Religious Studies Program. Contact: 915-747-5519.

-        Poetry Reading with Dan Vera and Laurie Ann Guerrero (7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24). Blumberg Auditorium, University Library, First Floor. Sponsored by the Department of Creative Writing and the Dishonest Mailman Reading Series in collaboration with Letras Latinas, an organization affiliated with Notre Dame University. Contact: 915-747-7020.

-        “Mano y Corazón Binational Conference of Multicultural Health Care Solutions” (7:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27 – Saturday, Sept. 28,) at Region 19 Educational Service Center, 11670 Chito Samaniego Jr. For a complete agenda, visit www.manoycorazonhealthcareconference.com. Sponsored by State Senator José Rodríguez and the El Paso Chapter – National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) and in collaboration with joint sponsors that include: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center – Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Family Service of El Paso, Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center, and University Medical Center of El Paso. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

-        Book presentation: Remembering Frida by Roberta Orona-Córdova (1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26 and 9:15 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28). Liberal Arts Building, Room 319. Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and Chicano Studies. Contact: 915-747-6529.

-        Book Presentation: Red Medicine by Patrisia González (9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 3). Location TBA. Sponsored by the Department of History and the Women’s Studies Program. Contact: 915-747-5508.

-        Film Screening: Latinos Beyond Reel: Challenging a Media Stereotype by filmmakers Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun (Noon Monday, Oct. 7). Geological Sciences Building, Room 123. Sponsored by the Department of Communication and Chicano Studies. Contact: 915-747-5462.

-        “Mexican Literature through Dance and Drama” (5 – 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11 and Friday, Oct. 18). A collaboration between dance and theatre majors giving life to two or more short stories from the book: Sun, Stones and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories. Open Space, First Floor, Fox Fine Arts Building. Sponsored by the Department of Theater and Dance. Contact: 915-747-7597.

-        Musical Performance and Lecture: “A World of Border Music” (6:30 – 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12). Café Mayapán, 2000 Texas Ave. Sponsored by the Department of History and Museo Urbano. Contact: 915-747-5508.

-        Book presentation: “Más sabe el diablo” by Roberto Perezdíaz (Tuesday, Oct. 15; location and time TBA). Sponsored by the Department of Languages and Linguistics and Chicano Studies. Contact: 915-747-5767.

A panel titled “Journalism and Violence” featuring reporters Alfredo Corchado, Angela Kocherga, Sandra Rodríguez, Pablo Hernández Bautista, and Didier Hernández, is planned with the date, time and location to be determined. It is sponsored by the Department of Languages and Linguistics and the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies. For more information, call 915-747-5767.

In addition, a Spanish Film Club Festival will present screenings throughout October and early November. Sponsored by Union Services, the Department of Languages and Linguistics, the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies, and Chicano Studies, the series was made possible with the support of Pragda, the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain, and its Program for Cultural Cooperation with United States Universities. All screenings take place in the Union Cinema at 7 p.m. and will be shown in Spanish or Catalan with English subtitles. The festival’s schedule is as follows:

-        Wednesday, Oct. 9.The Delay/La Demora by Rodrigo Plá

-        Tuesday, Oct. 15.Here and There/Aquí y Allá by Antonio Méndez Esparza

-        Wednesday, Oct. 23.Fish Child/Niño Pez by Lucía Puenzo

-        Tuesday, Oct. 29. Black Bread/Pan Negro by Agustí Villaronga

-        Thursday, Nov. 7 & Friday, Nov. 8. Clandestine Childhood/Infancia Clandestina by Benjamín Ávila

Other happenings that will take the Hispanic Heritage celebration through the end of the year include a Día de los Muertos altar display on the 3rd floor of the UTEP Library from Oct. 30 to Nov. 8. On Oct. 24, Elaine Hampton, retired professor in the Department of Teacher Education, will present her book Anay’s Will to Learn: A Woman’s Education in the Shadow of the Maquiladora at 1:30 p.m. in Liberal Arts Room 319. The book’s subject, Anay Palomeque Vásquez de Carillo, is expected to attend. This event is sponsored by Chicano Studies. For more information, call 915-747-5462.

UTEP Political Science professors Tony Payán, Kathleen Staudt and Z. Anthony Kruszewski will discuss their new book, A War that Can’t Be Won: Binational Perspectives on the Drug War, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13 in Blumberg Auditorium (University Library, First Floor). The book will be available for purchase. Sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies; call (915) 747-7975 for more details.

A lecture on “The Latin American Cinema: Cronotopias, Affection and Imagination in Late Capitalism” will be presented by Professor Seabstiao Guiherme Albano, Fulbright Visiting Scholar at U.T. Austin from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Du Norte in Brazil. The lecture takes place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26 in a location to be determined. It is sponsored by the Department of Languages and Linguistics. For information, call 915-747-8054.

All events are free, open to the public, and will be held on the UTEP Campus unless otherwise noted. For updates on locations, additional events, and changes, click here or call the Chicano Studies Program at 915-747-5462.