On the heels of Women’s History Month, New Mexico State University is hosting its 19th annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium on April 10 titled: “Transformative Leadership: Women, Gender Diversity, and Social Justice.”

“This event, organized by NMSU’s gender and sexuality studies, commemorates and reflects on our 35 years of interdisciplinary academic and creative excellence, beginning with the founding of the Women's Studies Program in 1989,” said M. Catherine Jonet, associate professor of gender and sexuality studies. “It honors the leadership contributions of women and LGBTQ+ folks across the NMSU system, in local and state politics and community mobilization.

”The day-long event is free and open to the public. It begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 10 with a Tortugas Pueblo blessing ceremony outside the Corbett Center Auditorium. Two panel discussions at 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. will feature the history and future of gender and sexuality studies at NMSU.

All the panel discussions and presentations will take place inside the Corbett Center Auditorium. For those who may not attend in person, the event also will be available on Zoom. Spanish interpretation will be available in person (with limited headsets).

“For nearly two decades, the J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium has played a critical role in bringing the Las Cruces community together around various topics to network and collaborate about finding solutions for inequities in our community,” said Bejarano, NMSU Regents Professor who has been involved in the symposium from the beginning.

A luncheon from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Corbett Center East Ballroom follows the first two panel discussions.

The afternoon panels include “Zines in Schools – Participatory Media Project with J. Paul Taylor Academy and the New America School” from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m., “Empowering Change: State and Local Political Leadership” from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. and “Transforming Communities: Access and Belonging for All” from 4 to 5:15 p.m.

“Social justice is a community process,” said Laura Anh Williams, NMSU gender and sexuality studies associate professor and leader of the “Zines in Schools” project. “To me, it embodies the pursuit of a fair and equitable society where all individuals have equal access to resources, opportunities, and protections. It means dismantling systemic barriers and creating spaces where difference and diversity thrive, and where everyone's rights are respected regardless of their identity.”

“It's about actively working towards a future where disparities based on race, gender, sexuality and other aspects of identity are addressed and rectified, so that every person has the chance to thrive and contribute to their communities,” Jonet said. “Social justice is not just a concept; it's a continuous effort toward inclusivity, positive change and shared humanity.

”The annual Social Justice Awards ceremonies begin at 5:30 p.m. with a presentation by the NMSU Department of Government. Department head Neil Harvey will present the government social justice award to Dae Romero, NMSU college assistant professor of communication studies.

The J. Paul Taylor Community Social Justice Awards will be presented by Mary Helen Ratje, J. Paul Taylor Academy educator and J. Paul Taylor family representative, and Carrie Tafoya, English college assistant professor. The two recipients this year are: Rose Garcia, executive director of Tierra del Sol, and Dana Hopkins, an LGBTQ+ community activist and advocate.

“Everybody has a favorite J. Paul Taylor story and I have countless memories of him over the years, said Bejarano. “His spirit and commitment to education have guided this symposium’s mission from the very beginning. He attended many of the events, which focused on a wide variety of topics from justice for journalists to justice for farmworkers and many others.
Although he passed away just before the symposium last year, his legacy lives on thanks to support from those inside and outside the university.

”A reception at 5:45 p.m. in the Corbett Center Auditorium lobby will follow the social justice awards.

At 7 p.m., the symposium will conclude with a keynote discussion

“A Dialogue on Transformative Leadership” moderated by Julia Brown, National Board Chairperson of the American Association of University Women, with panelists Sherry Kollmann, chancellor of NMSU Global Campus and Monica Torres, chancellor of NMSU community colleges and recently appointed NMSU interim president.
“The continuation of the JPT Social Justice Symposium represents a commitment to ongoing education and conversation around social justice issues, keeping them at the forefront of community awareness and action,” Williams said. “Over the past 19 years, the symposium has served as a platform for sharing diverse perspectives and fostering dialogue on how to address inequities within the community and beyond.

”Learn more about the J. Paul Taylor Symposium and find apps and other tools to help attendees spread the word and share feedback on the event to engage in a dialogue about strategies that turn our communities and institutions toward more inclusive and equitable futures at https://genders.nmsu.edu/jpt19.html.

Beverages and snacks will be available throughout the day. Free parking is available for attendees in Lot # 30, located east of the Pan American Center. These complimentary parking areas are designated in brown on the campus parking map. Parking is free across campus after 4:30 p.m.

The full article can be seen at https://newsroom.nmsu.edu/news/nmsu-s-j.-paul-taylor-symposium-explores-social-justice-for-women--lgbtq--communities/s/12f9beb6-7848-4975-bf33-b2315756dde1

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