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NMSU Library Program introduces new Border Justice Archive

Leaders of several border activist groups will join New Mexico State University faculty and student researchers on Thursday, April 30, to present the results of a year-long project, "Preserving Memory/ Promoting Justice," which collects and preserves the records of several area organizations involved in social justice activism.


The free public program will be at 4 p.m. in the Milton Gallery on the fourth floor of Branson Library.

The program will feature presentations by Diana Bustamante of the Colonias Development Council, Yolanda Leyva of the Segundo Barrio organization and a representative of the Lomas de Poleo residents' group in Juarez.

NMSU graduate students Cynthia Renteria (history and public administration) and Jon Williams (sociology) have been working for the past year with the Colonias Development Council in Las Cruces, the El Paso Segundo Barrio group and with the residents' organization of Lomas de Poleo in Juarez to document their work in the areas of housing and environmental justice in the border region. The project was funded by a grant from NMSU's Southwest and Border Cultures Institute.

Renteria and Williams set out to collect primary source materials from these groups, such as newspaper clippings, working papers, field diaries and policy statements, as well as to conduct oral histories with activists and organizers. The documentation they have gathered, together with their records of the project, will become part of the Rio Grande Historical Collections (RGHC) in the NMSU Library's Archives and Special Collections Department. The materials will be made available to researchers studying social justice issues in the border region.

Archivist Charles Stanford participated in the planning of the project and trained the students in archival practices for acquisition and processing of documentary records, and he has guided the incorporation of these materials into the RGHC. Other NMSU faculty advisers to the project include Molly Molloy of the library, Neil Harvey of the Center for Latin American and Border Studies and Dulcinea Lara of the history program.

These new collections on U.S.-Mexico social justice activism build upon the RGHC's recent acquisition of the Esther Chavez Cano Collections, 1990-2006, that documents human rights struggles in Ciudad Juarez.

The NMSU Library's Archive and Special Collections Department has collected materials on the history and heritage of the border region since 1972. These collections include the papers of the prominent local Amador and Armijo families, as well as records from the archbishopric of Durango, Mexico, and the town of Sombrerete, Mexico.

For more information, contact Molloy, the NMSU Library's Border and Latin American Specialist, at (575) 646-6931 or mmolloy@nmsu.edu.