People at the bottom seeking change still look up to César Chávez

EL PASO — César Chávez was buried — to his wishes — in a plain pine coffin built by his brother, Richard. This was a simple, even selfless request from one of the most influential and celebrated figures in American history. It spoke to Chávez’s humility in his struggle for workers’ rights: to be remembered as a fellow soldier and not as a decorated leader or a messiah. The death of the figurehead meant a new life for the cause, La Causa became Nuestra Causa. The man would have celebrated 84 years of life this year.

César Chávez’ struggle rings again on the UTEP campus: This is just the beginning, says student leader

ELPASO, Texas — A decision to remove César Chavez Day as an observed school holiday taken by the University of Texas at El Paso Faculty Senate touched a nerve at this Hispanic-majority institution. “We were under pressure to make a quick decision,” said Faculty Senate President Dr. Carl S. Lieb, a professor of biology. The vote on November 9 by the faculty Catalog and Calendar Committee, followed by a unanimous vote by the senate, was in response to a Texas State Legislature cost-cutting directive to remove two holidays from the school’s schedule. “The first recommendation to come was to take away the Spring Study Day and Cesar Chavez Day, or (to) take one of the existing staff holidays during the winter break,” Lieb said. Spring Study Day, a faculty holiday on the Friday of Spring Break also was eliminated.

Read all about it – some last words for the printed word

EL PASO, Texas — Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to honor the heroes, the visionaries, the martyrs, the teachers, the mentors and the smart-asses that have contributed to the legacy of Print Media here at the University of Texas at El Paso. In these times of great technological advancement, the souls that lie buried in the ink of the pages that challenged authority, informed the populous and bled perspective will never be forgotten. In our borderland, the border we face is not only that which divides our twin cities. We also approach an epochal border, moving into a digital age where the blog is the new editorial, craigslist is the new classified ads and RSS feeds are the new paperboys. On November 2, 2009, former ABC White House correspondent Sam Donaldson announced the creation of a new degree at UTEP: Multimedia Journalism.

The Robert Marquez saga — from starving cebollero eating out of trashcans to Hispano Triunfador

DEMING, N.M. — “One of the things that happens when you pick onions is that when you’re done, you still reek of onions,” said Robert O. Marquez, PhD as we drove from a little coffee shop in Las Cruces, New Mexico to explore his hometown of Deming one clear afternoon. “You can’t take enough baths to get the smell out!” Marquez, 52, is one of the recipients of the 11th Annual McDonald’s Hispanos Triunfadores award for his accomplishments in science. He enthusiastically shared the story of his scant upbringing, starting as a poor ranch boy in the deserts of Deming to his professional success and philanthropy in the fields of science and engineering during our trip. Marquez sported a black cowboy hat on top of his long salt-and-pepper Apache hair, jeans and boots that echoed his working-class upbringing and a long-sleeve button-down shirt that was equal parts business and ranchero.

Cardinal’s sermon on the mount prays for peace on the border

MOUNT CRISTO REY, N.M. – On the narrow edge of a cliff more than 2,000 feet up Mount Cristo Rey, the march came to a sudden halt. The slight morning chill of fall settling in the desert became more apparent, blowing past a slow procession ambling in both directions. The line of trekkers had been backed up all the way to the 11th Station of the Cross: Jesus is nailed to the cross. This was truly a pilgrim’s Passion play. On the morning of October 31, an estimated 30,000 followers celebrated the Feast of Cristo Rey, an annual pilgrimage and Mass at Mount Cristo Rey. The approximately five mile procession to the top of the 4,675-feet-high peak brought young and old throughout the border region together for different personal reasons but united in faith.

More reaction to the killing of two UTEP students

EL PASO, Texas — The murder of two University of Texas at El Paso students continues to reverberate on campus, eliciting reactions from students, faculty and administration. “It really pains me,” said Dr. Gina Nunez-Mchiri, professor of Anthropology and Sociology at UTEP. “They’re our students… We know people who are losing family members to the violence and it affects us. It takes our sleep away.

UTEP mourns two students shot to death in Juarez

EL PASO, Texas — The University of Texas at El Paso is mourning the death of two students who were gunned down in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico Tuesday evening after they crossed the border on their way home. The UTEP community was invited to a memorial service Monday at 2 p.m. to be held just outside of the College of Business Administration where Manuel Acosta Villalobos, 25, and Eder Diaz Sotero, 23, both studied.  The two students lived in Juarez and commuted to the El Paso campus to attend classes, university officials said. The two were driving at about 8 p.m. when gunmen fired 36 rounds at their car, hitting both men multiple times, Chihuahua state police said. Acosta died at the scene and Diaz at a Juarez hospital Wednesday morning. “Our hearts are heavy today with the news of the deaths of UTEP students Manuel Acosta and Eder Diaz.

Being bicultural and bilingual propelled Mike Martinez to success

EL PASO, Texas — Stepping out of a business meeting to negotiate his transfer from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Chicago, Mike Martinez looked out into a violent Chicago blizzard. “It was snowing horizontally,” he recalled. He had been promised a move to Spain — a dream job for him — but the company decided they needed his skills at a national office. It was Christmas Day. He called his wife in San Juan telling her about the storm and asked her, “So, how would you like to move to Chicago?”

Bordering on Acceptance: Growing Up Gay on the Border

EL PASO, Texas — To live in a border city is to live between contrasting jurisdictions and beliefs. It is to delicately walk the line that divides cultures – never falling to either side – balanced by an ability to sustain contradictions. For the Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Bisexual community of El Paso, the city they call home is riddled both in tradition and progressive thought. The line the GLBT community walks is an interminable border that hovers between acceptance and condemnation. “People from both sides of the border … all we’re doing is just tolerating each other, coping with each other, instead of mastering our differences,” said Rosio De Leon, student at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Diagnosing crime: The failures of rehabilitation in the justice system

EL PASO, Texas — “When you’re through changing, that’s when you’re through” reads a motivational poster hanging in the main hall of the Education Building of the Rogelio Sanchez State Prison, El Paso’s largest state correctional facility. It is a sinister wink at the failing system of reform that classes taught in that building aim to provide. Crime rehabilitation has proven to be a failed objective of justice systems in America, experts say. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice lists “To provide for confinement, supervision, rehabilitation, and reintegration of adult felons” as one of its goals in its Annual Review. Like most government documents published for public viewing, it is carefully worded: They aim to provide for rehabilitation, not for the success of rehabilitation.