Nationally recognized advocate for social justice and critically acclaimed filmmaker Barbara Martinez Jitner will speak in Farber Hall in Old Main at The University of South Dakota on Tuesday, April 3 at 4 p.m.�During her talk, titled "NAFTA Factories, Maquila Workers, and Murder: The Real Story Behind Jennifer Lopez's New Film Bordertown," Martinez Jitner will reveal her experiences posing as a factory worker on the U.S./Mexico border, a project she developed to uncover a cycle of poverty and sexual abuse that often leads to murder.� Raised by her grandmother, a Mexican immigrant, Martinez Jitner's mission is to bring untold stories of Latinas to television and film.
� Bordertown, a feature film directed by Academy Award nominee Gregory Nava and starring Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas, was inspired by Martinez Jitner's experiences and subsequent documentary La Frontera. La Frontera chronicles the plight of female factory workers of Juarez, Mexico. Desperate and driven by the pressures of the new international economy, the young women (most only 15-years-old) flock to NAFTA factories (maquiles) seeking a better life.�Instead, what often awaits them is a clash of cultures and harsh economic realities that render them powerless, victimized and murdered by the hundreds.
Dr. William Richardson, chair of the department of political science and director of the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership commented on the significance of Martinez Jitner's work, stating "most South Dakotans are aware that an increasingly global economy affects them in both positive as well as negative ways. For instance, we enjoy more and cheaper goods because workers in far away places work for less money — sometimes far less money. For this same reason, American companies relocate their factories to those places and our fellow citizens lose jobs. Less obvious is the way that these factories can abuse their employees.�Martinez-Jitner provides a vivid reminder that these workers can be brutally exploited in ways that go far beyond low wages."
Sponsored by the Dillon Fund, Political Science League, Women's Studies, and the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership, the event is free and open to the public.�For more information, please contact Dr. William Richardson at William.Richardson@usd.edu or call 605-677-5701.�No recording devices of any kind will be permitted during the talk.