Borderlands Institute Hosts Local Cultural Awareness Forums at SDSU-IV Campus

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Carlos Herrera, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of Borderlands Institute.
CALEXICO — On Wednesday, Carlos Herrera, the Imperial Valley Campus San Diego State Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and director of the Borderlands Institute, held a press conference at the SDSU- IV Campus Library to introduce the Borderlands Institute calendar events for the upcoming academic year that will be open to the public.
When asked what the Borderlands Institute was all about, Carlos Herrera replied, “Our primary mission is to promote research, scholarship, and cultural events that are relevant to the history of the Imperial, Mexicali, and Yuma Valleys.”
He added, “We want to bring education to the local community about the history of this place, but also to the larger community. The whole purpose of this institute is to bring awareness to the history of this region and do this by inviting people that conduct research such as: writing, publishing, photography, and making documentary films about the Imperial, Mexicali, and Yuma Valleys.”
On September 28, Dr. Ruben Munoz (Spain) and Dr. Enrique Gomez (Mexico) will come to the SDSU IV-Campus to host a mini conference discussing the relationship between HIV/ AIDS and migration along Mexico’s Northern and Southern Borders.
Enrique Castillo, a Calexico native, author, social activist, and celebrated Hollywood actor featured in films such as “Blood In Blood Out,” is scheduled to visit the campus on October 12 to present his new book “The Dead of Summer”, a novel set in the Imperial Valley.
The next event on the calendar is November 9 when Jimmy Dorantes, a Calexico-born professional photographer for Associated Press and Time Magazine, will premiere his documentary, “Dorantes,” about the history of immigration in the Imperial, Mexicali, and Yuma valleys.
A conference will be administered March 10, 2017 to discuss the life and times of explorer Juan Batista de Anza (in 1700s, he led a group of 300 colonists from Sonora, Mexico to find what is now know as San Francisco) which will mainly focus on the challenges colonists faced during the journey across the Imperial-Mexicali Valley desert.
The event the Borderlands Institute is most eager to emphasize is the September 30 screening of the documentary film “Willie Velasquez” (a film co-sponsored by SDSU-IV and KPBS – produced by Hector Galan about the life of Mexican-American civil rights activist William C. Velasquez who initiated the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project).
Herrera stated, “The reason for emphasizing this event is because it deals with themes that are associated with this particular presidential election. We thought it was very important to communicate to the people how active the Mexican-American community has been in the electoral process. This film addresses the issue of when the Spanish-speaking vote really began to matter in this country.”