Fairfield University plans lecture and art exhibition on immigration theme


Image: KinoFairfield University invites the public to "Solidarity on the U.S.-Mexico Border: Kino Border Initiative in Words, Deeds, and Images," a campus initiative including a thought-provoking lecture and art exhibition. The events are free and open to the public.

The Rev. Sean Carroll, S.J., executive director of the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), will deliver "The Kino Border Initiative: Working on the Frontiers for Immigration Reform" on Wednesday, September 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

The KBI is a Catholic, bi-national collaborative effort that focuses on humanitarian assistance, education, research and social-pastoral outreach in the area of migration. The KBI was inaugurated in 2009 by six organizations from the United States and Mexico with a vision to help make humane, just, workable migration between the two countries a reality.

Fr. Carroll is a graduate of Stanford University who entered the California Province of the Society of Jesus in 1989. He has served as an associate pastor at churches in Oakland and Los Angeles and he has coordinated pastoral initiatives among 12 parishes in California, Arizona, Utah and Hawaii. As part of this ministry, he assisted with the exploratory phase of a new migrant ministry in Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico and that led to his leadership of the KBI in Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.

Under Fr. Carroll's leadership, KBI has received a number of awards including the Ohtli Award from Mexico's Secretariat of Foreign Relations, the Quetzalcóatl Award for Mexico's National Institute of Migration, the Seeds of Change Award from the Circles of Peace and the Cross-Border Cooperation and Innovation Award presented by the Border Research Partnership.

"I am very grateful to Fairfield University for the opportunity to speak about the Kino Border Initiative and its bi-national migrant ministry in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico," said Fr. Carroll. "I look forward to the week's events, which will help us grow in solidarity with our migrant sisters and brothers along the U.S./Mexico border."

The lecture will be followed by a reception in the Quick Center lobby to open "People With No Names: The Undocumented," an exhibition of oil paintings by artist Pamela Hoffmeister that will be on view there through Saturday, November 23.

Pamela Hoffmeister graduated from California State Dominguez Hills with a bachelor's degree in psychology. In 1982, she received a second bachelor's degree in painting and drawing from the University of Oregon, where she also earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and drawing. During the last 30 years, while raising her six children, she has worked painting commissioned portraits for a variety of clients in Europe and North America.

Since 2010, Hoffmeister has spent time in Tucson, Arizona, focused on painting portraits of undocumented immigrants, endeavoring to put a human face on the myriad of people who live and work in the shadows of the United States of America. She continues to travel throughout the West and Southwest interviewing and painting her immigrant subjects. In 2011, Pamela showed her immigrant portraits and gave a talk at the Mills International Center at the University of Oregon. Most recently, in June 2013, she showed her work as part of the Social Action Summer Institute on Immigration in Tucson.

"Distressed by the Balkanized approach to immigration policy in this country generally, I was particularly distressed, yet galvanized in the Spring of 2010 by the passage of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070," said Hoffmeister. "At that point, my work became tightly focused on putting a dignified, human face on our as yet 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the shadows of our society."

"Solidarity on the US-Mexico Border: Kino Border Initiative in Words, Deeds and Images" emerged from fieldwork Janie Leatherman, Ph.D., professor of politics and international studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, carried out in Nogales, Arizona and Sonora in January 2013. She studied how KBI offers safe space to migrants as a means to promote human dignity and social justice. It has grown into a collaboration with more than a dozen different departments on campus.

"I am excited that we can bring both Father Sean and Pamela to campus together which also mirrors KBI's collaboration on the ground with humanitarians in Arizona," Dr. Leatherman said, noting Hoffmeister is a regular volunteer at the KBI soup kitchen. "The relationships she has formed with migrants at the soup kitchen come to life in the portraits and paintings of the undocumented that are featured in her exhibit. The project thus draws from the arts to help communicate the realities of the immigrant story, while bringing forward to our local audiences the humanitarian work of the KBI on the border, its educational outreach, documentation of human rights abuses, and advocacy for the reform of an out-of-date and broken immigration system."

This project also draws on Catholic Social Teachings and promotes multiculturalism on campus, Dr. Leatherman said.

The events are sponsored by The Humanities Institute of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Quick Center, Catholic Studies, International Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Service for Justice Residential College, Art History Department, Politics Department, Center for Faith and Public Life, Jesuit Mission Initiatives, Campus Ministry/Social Justice, Peace and Justice Studies, and The Cities Initiative.

For more information, http://www.fairfield.edu/arts/arts_kbi.html.

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Media Contact: Meredith Guinness, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, mguinness@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 11, 2013

Vol. 46, No. 31