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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Conference to examine killings on the border

A two-day conference at New Mexico State University Oct. 1 and 2 will examine issues surrounding the slayings of nearly 200 women in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, over the past six years.

"Burials on the Border/Sepultadas en la Frontera: Women and Violence at the Millennium" will bring together law enforcement officials, experts on violence, journalists and others in a series of forums to explore the political, social, economic and cultural issues of the killings.

Keynote speakers will include Arturo Gonzalez Rascon, attorney general of the state of Chihuahua, who will discuss the advances his office has made in the investigations of the crimes; Esther Chavez Cano, a leading human rights activist in Juarez who recently opened the city's first rape crisis center; and Debbie Nathan, El Paso journalist and expert on the Juarez murders.

The conference, to be held in NMSU's Corbett Center Student Union Auditorium, is free and open to the public. Simultaneous English/Spanish interpretations will be provided.

The conference will open at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, with a keynote speech by Nathan titled "Buried Deaths."

The first of three panels, scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, will feature a group of crisis intervention and domestic violence experts from both sides of the border: Ari Medina of the El Paso Sexual Trauma and Assault Response Services, Silvia Dominguez of Casa Amiga in Juarez, Amy Amabile of La Casa in Las Cruces and Louise Tracy of Pinon Sexual Trauma Recovery Services in Las Cruces.

The second panel, at 1 p.m., will include legal and police authorities from Juarez who have been investigating the crimes or are working toward the security of women. Participants include Suly Ponce, special investigator for the murders of women; Javier Benavidez, chief of security in Juarez; and Steven Slater, public safety adviser for the Chihuahua attorney general.

The final panel, at 2:45 p.m., will be a gathering of female journalists from Juarez -- Adriana Cadia de Garcia, Ramona Ortiz, Patricia Cabrera, Rohry Benitez, Josefina Martinez and Isabel Velazquez -- who will discuss "The Official Silence Against Women in Juarez."

Following a 5 p.m. reception at the University Museum in Kent Hall, the conference's concluding session at 6:30 p.m. will feature keynote speeches by Esther Chavez Cano of Casa Amiga and Chihuahua Attorney General Arturo Gonzalez Rascon.

The conference is made possible by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to Frontera NorteSur, an online news digest at the NMSU Center for Latin American Studies, and the NMSU Women's Studies Program.

For more information on the conference, contact Anne Marie Mackler at (505) 646-6817, frontera@nmsu.edu, or Mary Wolf at (505) 646-3408. For more information on the history of the Juarez killings, visit the Frontera NorteSur Web site at http://www.nmsu.edu/~frontera.