Tejas Foco Report for 2023

The past Foco Caucus Chairs were Dr. Sonia Hernandez and Dr. Peter Martinez, who completed their two-year term with the 2023 Tejas Foco conference.

Dr. Rosalva Resendiz, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, is the current Foco Caucus Chair for AY 23-24 and organized the Tejas Foco Conference at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2023, along with co-organizer Miryam Espinosa-Dulanto. The Foco Conference for 2023 was sponsored primarily by the UTRGV Department of Criminal Justice/Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society, the UTRGV College of Education & P-16 Integration and the Provost’s Office which funded the conference through the Center for Mexican American Studies. The conference focused on “Confronting/Resisting the Colonizer Within: A History of Violence, Discrimination/Oppression & Shame,” and was held in the Brownsville campus, situated next to the Rio Grande River, from March 23rd to March 25th. The goal was to provide a space for decolonial discourse in an effort to help our communities heal and embrace our Indigeneity proudly.

NACCS Tejas Foco recognized scholarship and community through various awards. The winner for the Non-Fiction Book Award went to Cordelia E. Barrera, “The Haunted Southwest: Towards an Ethics of Place in Borderlands Literature; the Honorable Mention went to Elizabeth Farfan-Santos, “Undocumented Motherhood: Conversations of Love, Trauma & Border Crossing.” The Dissertation Award was won by Dr. Marlene Galvan with “Decolonial Rhetoric in Texas Borderland Gardens.” And the NACCS Tejas Letras de Aztlan Community Award recognized the community activism of Rosa San Luis & Border Workers United (formerly Fuerza Unida).

As part of decolonial praxis, we did not charge a fee for attendance to the conference and/or exhibits, and we provided lunch and dinner for attendees. We had various plenaries, beginning with “Celebrating Today’s Chicanx Leaders in Activism,” which included Dr. Guadalupe San Migel, Michelle Vallejo (Former Democratic Candidate for Congress District 15) and Jorge Renaud (National Criminal Justice Director for LatinoJustice PRLDEF). On Friday, we had our second plenary on “Fighting for Recognition! Erasure & Representation,” with Pepe Garcia Gilling, a local filmmaker, along with the actress Christel Klitbo Quiros and the actor Edumndo Isai Vargas representing Mexico’s Poder Prieto movement. On our last day, we held two plenaries: the first plenary focused on “Place, Memory & Community Resistance Through Art,” showcasing the art by Sandra C. Fernandez; and the closing plenary was sponsored by LatinoJustice, featuring their documentary “Bad Hombres.”

We had an attendance of around 350 people, with presenters coming from across Texas, as well as from California, Canada and Mexico. We also had sponsorship from LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas, and the Emilio Institute for Indigenous Responsibility, Rights and Research.

The upcoming 2024 Foco Conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas.

Fall 2023, Vol. 49 No. 1

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation