Film, Talk to Expose Border Challenges

who-is-dayani-cristalWestmont’s Reel Talk series explores the difficult issues associated with immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. in Adams Center room 216. Following the film, “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” there will be a panel discussion with five Westmont faculty and staff members who took part in a U.S. Border Immersion Faculty Seminar in May. The screening and discussion are free and open to the public. For more information about Reel Talk, please contact Aaron Sizer, assistant director of the Gaede Institute, which sponsors Reel Talk, at (805) 565-6124. For information about the Border Immersion Faculty Seminar, please contact professor Cynthia Toms, who organized and led the trip to Arizona and Mexico, at (805) 565-6025.

Members of Westmont's Border Immersion Seminar at a memorial near the Arizona-Mexico border

Members of Westmont’s Border Immersion Seminar at a memorial near the Arizona-Mexico border

“The film aims to puncture the anonymity of the migrant experience by dramatizing the real-life journey of one young father through Mexico, across the border, and ultimately to his death in the Sonora Desert,” Sizer says. “The filmmakers make innovative use of narrative and documentary techniques, and one of the primary locations of the latter segments is the Pima County Morgue, which the Border Immersion Seminar visited.”

The panel includes Mary Docter, professor of Spanish; Rachel Winslow, director of Westmont’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship; Liz Robertson, resident director; Jason Cha, director of Intercultural Programs; and Rachel Fabian, resident director. The 20-30 minute panel discussion will be moderated by Provost Mark Sargent.

Members of the Border Patrol speak with Westmont faculty and staff last May

Members of the Border Patrol speak with Westmont faculty and staff last May

“The Border Immersion Faculty Seminar moved beyond political rhetoric to explore the issue from personal accounts of those directly affected by the issue,” says Toms, who is planning additional seminars in January and May that may include students.