Student organizes month of events focused on social justice and Latin America


Since coming to Connecticut College four years ago, Juan Pablo Pacheco has wanted to share some of the stories that show the impact the United States’ policies and actions have had on his native Colombia. Now, in his senior year, he’s accomplished that goal, producing a four-part series of free events that focuses on efforts to reduce social, political and economic inequalities in Latin America.

Concluding next week, “Social Justice, Decolonization and Activism: Latin America and the World” comprises film screenings, talks and a forum. Pacheco, who is majoring in both film studies and a self-designed course of study in cultural studies and criticism, said he hopes the project will further the College’s efforts to promote local and global awareness and engagement, an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge, and a commitment to diversity and social justice.

“Latin America has always been a controversial place in its relation to the United States,” explained Pacheco. “It's important that U.S. citizens know the history of their country’s imperialist and neocolonial policies and actions in Latin America and the ways in which they shape the contemporary reality of Latin Americans as well as U.S. citizens' daily lives and choices.”

So far the series has presented:

  • “We Women Warriors,” a documentary about three women from different indigenous tribes who use nonviolent resistance to fight for social justice and survival in the midst of Colombia’s armed conflict among the government, paramilitary groups, and the guerrilla groups;
  • A talk by Nicole Karsin, director of “We Women Warriors”; and
  • A talk by Luis Cardona, the father of a Connecticut College student and a Colombian union and labor activist concerned about the business practices of U.S. corporations in Colombia. He spoke about the murder of a union leader he witnessed while employed at a Coca-Cola bottling plant and his quest for social activism and justice in the face of that and other tragic events.

The series concludes next Tuesday, Feb. 25, with the screening of two short films: “9.70,” a documentary about a group of farmers who suffer under a resolution that made it illegal for them to store seeds in order to give private companies and transnational corporations control over the market;   and “Grown to Be Sold,” a short film produced on campus about a student-led initiative to stop the purchase of Chiquita and Dole bananas at Connecticut College because of the injustices committed by these companies in Latin America. The screenings will be followed by an interactive forum about anti-capitalist struggles, feminist strategies and critiques, and environmental and social justice.

“Social Justice, Decolonization and Activism” is co-sponsored by the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, CISLA, the Academic Resource Center, the film studies program and the departments of sociologyanthropologyphilosophy and gender and women's studies. All of the events have been free and open to the public.