Speaker discusses Latina struggles in America

The Association of Latin American Students provided the opportunity to learn more about the issues and struggles Latina women face in America.

A.L.A.S. hosted filmmaker and human rights activist Barbara Martinez Jitner Wednesday in the Student Center Ballroom.

Jitner produced, “La Frontera,” a documentary about 400-murdered women in Juarez, Mexico. The film “Bordertown,” which starred Jennifer Lopez, was based on her documentary.

“Her talks focus on the situation that is happening at the Mexican-American border and how it affects our nation as a whole, and not just the surrounding area,” Jessica Molina, A.L.A.S. marketing chair, said.

Jitner was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe in the Miniseries category as a writer/executive producer. She is the only Latina so far to receive those nominations.

“More students will benefit from Barbara’s talk in a sense that it will provide a knowledgeable insight from a Latina woman, who is responsible for educating college students,” Molina, a sophomore health science major, said.

At the beginning of the semester, the organization’s executive board talked about potential speakers and chose Jitner to spread awareness about a Latino culture. The topic is especially timely due to the presidential race.

“As a Latino organization, we are proud of prominent Latino leaders,” Arely Herrera, A.L.A.S. president, said. “We thought we would reach out to [Jitner] as she would be a good speaker to bring to campus. Her topic is relevant to everyone, not just Latinos, so we want to spread awareness about this topic on campus.”

Both A.L.A.S. members and non-A.L.A.S. members attended this event. Attendees said they learned a lot from viewing a short portion of Jitner’s documentary and her speech.

“The presentation was really eye-opening for me,” freshman undecided major Esmeralda Santillanes, said. “It was inspiring to me because I see how lucky I am to be living in the United States and getting an education.”

Jitner also spoke a lot about relations between the United States and Mexico. She encouraged hope and the prevention of hate speech.

“At the end of the day, we are all people and deserve to have a good life,” freshman nursing major Kendall Prislinger said. “I thought [the presentation] was informative and overall very interesting.”