Second Annual Social Justice and Peace Conference starts Friday
Posted: 05/03/2010
Share |

The Department of Criminal Justice at The University of Texas-Pan American will host its Second Annual Social Justice and Peace Conference "Images/Voices from the Border" May 7-8.

The conference, to be held at the Social and Behavioral Sciences Building, is open to the public and will start at 9 a.m. on both days.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Starting at 10 a.m. Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino and McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez will be discussing the topic of "Border Violence: Myth or Reality" while Judge Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. of the 92nd District Court will be talking about "Political Corruption."

Advocating for death-row inmates during the conference will be Delia Perez Meyer, human rights commissioner for the city of Austin and a sister of a death-row inmate. She will be speaking at 3:30 p.m.

Producer and president of Alma Libre Films Laura Perez, a Mission, Texas native, who co-produced "Harvest of Redemption," will screen the 95-minute movie and follow with a discussion on the making of the film on Friday at 5 p.m. The film inspired by a true story, which occurred in the Rio Grande Valley in the 1920s - is about a young Latino trying to overcome the murder of his father, which he witnessed.

The Women's Studies minor, VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood, The Alice Kleberg Foundation, and the Department of Criminal Justice are co-sponsoring the "Vagina Monologues," a play that will be showcased during the conference. Scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Student Union Theater, the production is based on Eve Ensler's interviews with more than 200 women. This play celebrates women's sexuality and strength and gives voices to experiences and feelings not exposed in public.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Death row survivor Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon, who was released from Florida's death row after 17 years, eight months and one day in 2002, will share his unique story at the conference on how he became the 99th death row inmate in the country to be exonerated and released because of innocence. "Witness to Injustice" featuring Melendez-Colon is co-sponsored by the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and will be held at 4 p.m.

At 5:30 p.m. Laura Perez will discuss her upcoming project "American Orange: Effects of the Mission Contamination," which documents the lives of Mission, Texas residents affected by the storage of chemicals in the Hayes-Sammons Chemical Co. warehouse, which has since been demolished.

A roundtable on Mexican-American studies and student activism at UTPA will start at 2:30 p.m. and will feature discussion between students and faculty about social activism in the Mexican-American community at UTPA.

Throughout the two-day event, presentations and workshops featuring topics such as border violence, political corruption, prison gangs, migrant justice, and gender equity are some of the topics that will be presented.

Poetry sessions, poster research presentations, and ongoing exhibits and musical performances are also scheduled for the conference.

For more information, call 956/381-3566 or visit for a complete conference schedule.