Honoring our past to inspire our future: Rubén Salazar

EL PASO — UTEP’s Centennial is an important time to look back at the past, reflect how we got to where we are today, and honor those who carried the torch but could not be here to celebrate with us. 

If he were still alive, Rubén Salazar would be one of the alumni for whom the Miners would roll out the red carpet.  The man after whom the Rubén Salazar Spanish-Language Media Program in UTEP’s Department of Communication is named and the only UTEP alumnus to be featured on a US postal stamp, Salazar was a pioneering journalist whose shocking and mysterious death at an anti-Vietnam War march in August 1970 drew attention to the civil rights struggles of people of Mexican heritage in the US. On April 29th, PBS will air filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez’s new documentary “Ruben Salazar:  Man in the Middle,” but the UTEP, El Paso and Ciudad Juárez communities will have an opportunity to see the film even earlier, at an April 9 screening at the UTEP Union Cinema.  Rodriguez will join El Paso icon Rosa Ramírez Guerrero, Texas State Senator Jose Rodríguez, KHOU 11 News Border Bureau Chief Angela Kocherga, and Borderzine’s Zita Arocha for a discussion after the 6 pm screening, which will be moderated by Bob Moore, editor at The El Paso Times. The film uses never-before-seen footage, interviews, and excerpts from Salazar’s private writings to tell the story of how a socially-aware journalist went from bylines to headlines. Many students will find echoes of their own lives in Salazar’s story.