Barbara Martinez Jitner posed as a factory worker in Juárez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, to shine a light on the Mexican city’s poverty, sexual abuse and violence. Hundreds of girls and women have been killed since 1994, when NAFTA turned it into a boomtown.
Martinez Jitner, a filmmaker and human rights activist, will kick off the 2010 Harriet Elliott Lecture Series with a speech – “Femicide at Our U.S. Border: To Be a Woman in Juarez Is a Death Sentence” – at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, in EUC Auditorium.
The series, “Women and Conflict,” is presented by the Department of Sociology and will continue 9 a.m.-noon Thursday, March 25, in the Virginia Dare Room of the Alumni House. Speakers and their lectures are:
- Dr. Linda Burton, Duke University Department of Sociology, “Journeys to the Altar: Intimate Unions and Childbearing among Low-Income Urban and Rural Mothers”
- Dr. Kim Blakenship, Duke University Global Health Institute, “Inside and Out: Women, the ‘War on Drugs’ and HIV”
- Chancellor Linda P. Brady, “Women and Conflict Resolution: The Right Skills for These Difficult Times.”
Raised by her grandmother, a Mexican immigrant, Martinez Jitner’s mission is to bring the untold stories of Latinas to both television and film. Her documentary about the violence on the U.S.-Mexico border, “La Frontera,” was released in 2007. She was an executive producer of “Bordertown,” a political thriller starring Jennifer Lopez, inspired by her story.
Martinez Jitner also is one of the first Latina executive producers of a primetime network television series. The Emmy-nominated “American Family” debuted in 2002 as the first Latino drama on broadcast television. Of the show’s first 22 episodes, she wrote 10, including the critically acclaimed premiere, and directed seven.
The lecture series is named for Harriet Wiseman Elliott, a pioneer in the women’s rights movement and the namesake of Elliott University Center. She taught political science from 1913 until 1935 and served as dean of women from 1935 until her death in 1947. President Franklin D. Roosevelt called her to Washington in 1940 to serve on the National Advisory Defense Commission.
The series is free and open to the public. For more information, call 4-5609 or visit www.uncg.edu/aas/lectureseries/index.html.