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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Author of one of immigration's "darkest stories" to speak April 18 at NMSU

Enrique was a small Honduran child left behind when his mother immigrated to the United States to earn money for her family. Over the years his love and longing to be with her spurred him to make his own perilous journey across hostile frontiers to be reunited with her. Enrique found himself tormented by bandits and thugs?including corrupt officials, coyotes and gangsters- as he braved travel on the tops of trains ruled by those thugs. His story is just one of the many stories of children who have risked limbs and lives on these trains of death to get to the United States. It will be the focus of a presentation from 3 to 4 p.m. April 18 in the Corbett Center Auditorium at NMSU by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario rides the "trains of death" to research "Enrique's Journey: The Boy Left Behind." (Photo courtesy of Sonia Nazario)

At a time when most youngsters in the U.S. are thinking about school and friends, children like Enrique face dangers unimaginable to many adults. Writer Nazario told their story in a series of articles for the Los Angeles Times. The gripping tales and accompanying photos by Don Bartletti earned international praise and won Pulitzer Prizes for the writer and artist who took the perilous train rides and witnessed for themselves the treacherous journey. Now Nazario's book titled "Enrique's Journey: The Boy Left Behind" is scheduled to become a six-part series on HBO and Nazario is coming to present that story to NMSU faculty, staff, students and the surrounding communities.

Nazario's presentation highlights what well-known author Isabel Allende called "a twenty-first century Odyssey" and one of the "darkest stories" of our time. A book signing will follow the presentation at the auditorium.

Waded Cruzado-Salas, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences says, "These are the kinds of outstanding guests we should be bringing to campus. This is the kind of journalism and literature we should bring to our students, to teach and inspire them in their own fields. And these are the issues of the day we must as a society address. I encourage our students and faculty to attend."

Nazario's visit is a unique collaboration between New Mexico State University's College of Arts and Sciences and the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso. It is part of NMSU's continuing outreach effort to help educate and improve the lives of citizens of the community, state and region.