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"¡Amor! Más allá de las fronteras"

A conference held on Friday, May 15th from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (524 West 59th Street, New York, NY 10019) 6th Floor, Moot Court. Click here to view photos of the conference.


¡Amor! Más allá de las fronteras

Keynote Speaker, Sergio Troncoso



Description of the conference:

The Jamie Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at CUNY will host a one-day conference on Friday, May 15, 2015.  The conference seeks to create a forum for U.S. and Mexican scholars, artists and community organizers to engage in a dialogue about all aspects related to the issue of love and human relations in the context of migration and the U.S.-Mexican border. The 2015 conference is the third in a planned trilogy on the topics “¡Salud, Dinero y Amor!” as expressed in the classic celebratory toast.

Conference Organizers:
Daniel R. Fernández, Ph.D., Acting Director
Shareny Díaz-Saldaña, Administrative Coordinator
Citlalli Negrete, Conference Coordinator

With support from CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations, Jay Hershenson, Lehman College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.



9:00am-9:30am: Breakfast

9:30am-10:00am: Welcoming Remarks & Introductions

Daniel R. Fernández, Acting Director, Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute and Associate Professor at Lehman College in the Department of Languages & Literatures.
Citlalli Negrete, Conference Coordinator, Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute

10:00am-10:45am: Keynote Address

Sergio Troncoso, Novelist, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Editor and Faculty member at Yale Writers’ Conference and Hudson Valley Writers’ Center.

10:45am-11:00am: Break

11:00am-12:15pm: Panel 1: Of Families and Borders / De familias y fronteras

Ruth Hernández, University of Connecticut, “Navigating the State through Transnational Activism: ‘Legal’ Family Reunification in the Age of Deportation.”
Johannes Jacome, Consulate General of Mexico in New York.

12:15pm-1:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm-3:00pm: Panel 2: Documenting Hope and Longing

Documetaries: Of Kites and Borders & scenes from ¡Salud!
A conversation with directors Yolanda Pividal (Of Kites) and David Schwittek (¡Salud!)

3:00pm-3:15pm: Break

3:15pm-4:30pm: Panel 3: Between Love and the Law / Entre el amor y las leyes

Janet Calvo, CUNY School of Law, “Can you live with the one you love? The legal benefits and Barriers to Marriage Based Migration”
Jara Carrington, University of New Mexico, “Love in the Time of Immigration Reform and Same Sex Marriage: Binational Same Sex Couples and the Politics of Recognition in the United States”


Ballet Folklórico Xochitquetzal, Performance
CUNY BECAS Scholarship Award Ceremony



Presenter Biographies


Keynote: Sergio Troncoso


Sergio Troncoso is a writer of essays, short stories, and novels, and the author of five books. Among the numerous awards he has won are the Premio Aztlan Literary Prize, Southwest Book Award, Bronze Award for Essays from ForeWord Reviews, and International Latino Book Award. The son of Mexican immigrants, Troncoso was born in El Paso, Texas and now lives in New York City. He graduated from Harvard College, and studied international relations and philosophy at Yale University. He won a Fulbright scholarship to Mexico, where he studied economics, politics, and literature. Troncoso was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Alumni Hall of Fame and the Texas Institute of Letters. He also received the Literary Legacy Award from the El Paso Community College. In 2014, the El Paso City Council voted unanimously to rename the Ysleta public library branch in honor of Sergio Troncoso. He is currently an instructor at the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and a resident faculty member of the Yale Writers’ Conference in New Haven, Connecticut.

He co-edited Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence, a collection of essays on how the bi-national and bi-cultural existence along the United States-Mexico border has been disrupted by recent drug violence. Publishers Weekly called it an “eye-opening collection of essays.”

From This Wicked Patch of Dust is a story about the Martinez family who begins life on the eastern outskirts of El Paso, Texas in rural Ysleta. The family struggles to stay together despite cultural clashes, different religions, and politics after September 11, 2001. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews said the novel was “an engaging literary achievement,” and chose it as one of the best books of the year.

Crossing Borders: Personal Essays is a collection of essays about how Troncoso made the leap from growing up poor along the border to the Ivy League, his wife's battle against breast cancer, his struggles as a writer in New York and Texas, fatherhood, and interfaith marriage. The Portland Book Review said the book was “Heart-wrenching.”

The Nature of Truth is a novel about a Yale research student who discovers that his boss, a renowned professor, hides a Nazi past. Rigoberto Gonzalez for The El Paso Times: “Sergio Troncoso’s The Nature of Truth single-handedly redefines the Chicano novel and the literary thriller.”

Booklist hailed Troncoso’s first book, The Last Tortilla and Other Stories, with “Enthusiastically recommended,” and Publishers Weekly said, “These stories are richly satisfying.”

Troncoso’s stories and essays have been featured in many anthologies, including Critical Thinking, Thoughtful Writing, New Border Voices, Nuestra Aparente Rendición, Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing, Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas-Mexican Literature, Encyclopedia Latina, and City Wilds: Essays and Stories about Urban Nature. His work has also appeared in Texas Monthly, Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas, The El Paso Times, Front Porch Journal, Literal Magazine: Latin American Voices, Pembroke Magazine, Other Voices, and many other newspapers and magazines.

Jara Carrington

Jara M. Carrington is a doctoral candidate in the department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. She also holds a M.A. in Applied Anthropology (2007) from the University of North Texas, for which she completed a thesis about unaccompanied minors from Mexico and Central America living in Texas. She is currently writing her dissertation, which is a political ethnography that follows the process by which individuals in relationships characterized as “binational same sex,” along with the attorneys, advocates, service providers, and others who work with them, fight for state recognition and legal rights in the immigration context. Jara’s academic interests are an extension of her political commitment to immigrant rights and immigration reform. She worked for several years for Human Rights Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides free legal and social services to low-income immigrants living in north Texas, as well as has experience volunteering for several organizations that serve LGBTQ-identified immigrant communities in New York City.

Ruth Marleen Hernández

Ruth Marleen Hernández was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and migrated to Los Angeles, California, at the age of one with her parents. Her own personal experiences of U.S.-Mexico migration fuel her passion and commitment to issues related to the Mexican migrant community. Currently, she is working on her dissertation titled, “Rompiendo Fronteras: Family Reunification and Activism Among a Transnational Mexican Community,” which examines the transnational migrant network between a village in Tlaxcala, Mexico, and New Haven, Connecticut. Prior to her work in sociology, Hernández received a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, double majoring in history and Spanish literature. She then went on to receive an M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University of Connecticut. In addition to her academic work, she is an activist involved in various community projects working to address issues that temporary and permanent Latina/o migrants face in Connecticut.

Janet Calvo

Janet Calvo, Professor of Law: At CUNY School of Law she teaches Immigration and Nationality Law, Citizenship, The Rights of Non-Citizens, The Health Law Concentration, Public Health Law and Health Policy, Civil Procedure, Pre trial advocacy and Lawyering. She has also taught Public Health and Health Care Law at CUNY School of Public Health. Before teaching at CUNY, she was on the clinical faculty of New York University and Director of the Urban Law Clinic, and an attorney at the Civil Appeals and Law Reform and Trial Office of Legal Aid Society, New York New York . She is a graduate of New York University School of Law.

Yolanda Pividal

Yolanda Pividal is a Spanish documentary filmmaker, multimedia journalist and TV producer based in New York since 2005. She has been awarded four New York Emmy Awards as a producer and editor of short documentaries for the CUNY TV cultural show Nueva York. Her work as an independent filmmaker, mainly focused on the exploration of the immigrant condition in the big city and life at the border, has received awards and recognition from IFP/Fledgling Fund (Emerging Latino Filmmaker Award), the International Documentary Association (IDA Award Nominee), the Academy of Motion Pictures (Student Academy Awards Finalist), New York State Council of Arts,and National Board of the Review, among others. Her first feature film, Of Kites and Borders, has been awarded Best Documentary Film at the Havana Film Festival in New York, the San Diego Film Festival, and Docs DF International Documentary Film Festival of Mexico City and has been nominated to Best U.S. Latino Film of 2014 by the Cinema Tropical Awards. On 2011,Yolanda was awarded the Kathryn W. Davis Fellowship for International Understanding Through Film –undersigned by the National Endowment of Arts and the U.S. Academy of Motion Pictures- by the Jacob Burns Film Center, where she currently teaches documentary filmmaking and develops new programs of collective storytelling and visual literacy

David Schwittek

David Schwittek is an artist, designer, and filmmaker working in New York City. He is currently Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Digital Media in the Art Department of Lehman College. His research interests include web design, motion graphics, documentary film, and how to use these interests to affect political action.