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Latino Family Drama Creator is Shepard Symposium Keynote Speaker

March 24, 2008

Barbara Martinez Jitner, executive producer of the first Latino family drama on broadcast television, is the keynote speaker at the 12th annual Shepard Symposium on Social Justice March 25-28, at the University of Wyoming.

A nationally-known writer and director, she will give a free public talk Thursday, March 27, at 7 p.m., in the College of Arts and Sciences auditorium.

The theme of this year's Shepard Symposium is "Life at the Margins: Gender, Race and Class in the Global Era." The symposium, an annual event at UW since 1997, seeks to engage participants in discussion and analyses of strategies and actions that can eliminate social inequality.

Martinez Jitner is an executive producer of "American Family," a series that made history as the first Latino family drama on broadcast television when it debuted on PBS in January 2002. As president of El Norte Productions, Martinez Jitner is now developing several feature films for director Gregory Nava, including Nava's "Bordertown," "Zapata" for Disney, and "Tattooed Soldier" for HBO.

Martinez Jitner began her career as an award-winning director of commercials and documentaries, and produced the Showtime millennium documentary, "An American Tapestry." She is the inspiration behind the coming Jennifer Lopez film, "Bordertown," based on her research of the Mexican town of Juarez, where more than 400 women have been murdered.

Other events scheduled during the symposium include the popular hip-hop event, featuring Adrian Molina, Flobots and student performances, Wednesday, March 26, from 7-10 p.m. in the Wyoming Union ballroom; the annual Cesar Chavez Dinner Friday, March 28, at 5:30 p.m., also in the ballroom; and the UW Keepers of the Fire spring powwow Saturday and Sunday, March 29-30, in the War Memorial Fieldhouse. Sessions are at noon and 7 p.m. Saturday and at 10 a.m. Sunday. The powwow resumes Sunday at 10 a.m.

A variety of concurrent sessions also will be held throughout the symposium. For a list of complete event and registration information, visit the symposium's Web site at

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