Symposium addresses justice for Latinx immigrants

Monday, May 9, 2016 - 15:25

A March 10, 2016  symposium at SF State brought together scholars, service providers and activists to address multiple dimensions of Justice for Latinx Immigrants. It was cosponsored by the Departments of Sociology and Sexuality Studies, the Rachel Kahn-Hut Public Sociology Lecture Fund, the Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality (CREGS), the Health Equity Institute and the César Chávez Institute.

Undocumented unafraid and unapologetic by Julio SalgadoAn audience of more than 50 students, faculty, staff and community members listened to and discussed presentations by a panel of research scholars who are deeply committed to understanding the complex social, economic and political challenges facing our Latin American immigrant communities: Susanne Jonas (UC Santa Cruz), co-author with Nestor Rodríguez of Guatemala-U.S. Migration: Transforming Regions; Marla Ramírez (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), whose research focuses on repatriation and banishment of Mexican and Mexican American families during the Great Depression; and Kathleen Coll (USF), author of Remaking Citizenship: Latina Immigrants and New American Politics. Valerie Francisco (SJSU) chaired the research panel.  Francisco and Ramírez will both join SF State’s Departments of Sociology and Sexuality Studies as assistant professors in Fall 2016.

The audience next interacted with a panel of professionals engaged in the hard work of serving Latinx immigrant communities as they navigate multiple work place, health care and legal land minds: Leticia Márquez-Magaña (SF State Department of Biology), the director of SF BUILD, a project that to enhance the diversity of the biomedical research workforce; Jorge Zepeda, an alumnus of SF State’s MSW program and Latino programs manager for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation; and Marisela Esparza, program manager for San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network (SFILEN).

The symposium concluded with powerful personal testimonies from two dynamic and courageous social justice activists:  Julio Salgado, visual artist and co-founder of, and Isa Noyola, director of programs at the Transgender Law Center. 

Salgado’s status as an undocumented, queer artiist has fueled the contents of his visual art, which depict key individuals and moments of the DREAM Act movement. Undocumented students and allies across the country have used Salgado’s artwork to call attention to the youth-led movement. Eight of Salgado’s digital prints were on display throughout the symposium.

The keynote address was given by Noyola, who is passionate about abolishing oppressive systems that criminalize trans & queer im/migrant communities of color. Her vision for thriving trans communities includes sharing wisdom through multi-racial and inter-generational spaces and amplifying lived experiences through art and culture. At the Transgender Law Center she helps develop strategies to respond to a wide variety of national policy issues, including health care access, economic justice, racial justice, student safety, prisoners’ rights, and immigrants’ rights.

Pictured:  “Undocumented, unafraid and apologetic” by Julio Salgado was among the artwork on display at the symposium.