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Wednesday , April 24 2019
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Year-long film series explores America’s civil rights struggle

Equality and civil rights are struggles that many have faced throughout history. The El Paso Museum of History, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, will present a year-long series of films and programs exploring the country’s civil rights journey.

As part of “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle”, the NEH and the Lehrman Institute will bring outstanding films on the civil rights movement to communities across the United States, including El Paso. The Created Equal Initiative will encourage communities across the country to revisit the history of civil rights in America and to reflect on the ideals of freedom and equality that have helped bridge deep racial and cultural divides in our life. Each of these documentary films, spanning the period from the 1830s to the 1960s, tells the remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation.

The series will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 15, 2015, with a screening of “The Abolitionists” at the Main Library, 501 N. Oregon Street. The series will continue through next June with the following screenings and programs:

  • “Freedom Riders.” Wednesday, October 21, 2015, at 7 p.m. Canutillo High School, 6675 S. Desert Boulevard
  •   “Freedom Summer.” Monday, February 8, 2016, at 7 p.m. EPCC ASC Auditorium Building A, 9050 Viscount Boulevard. This program is presented in conjunction with El Paso Community College Black History Month Celebration and will include a discussion on voting rights and the opportunity to register to vote.
  • Capoeira Quinto Sol and Samba Batucada Alma de Fogo Program. Saturday, February 20, 2016, at 10 a.m. Eastside YWCA ASC Auditorium Building A, 9050 Viscount Boulevard. Capoeira is a Brazilian art form which combines fight, dance, rhythm and movement. The details of capoeira’s origins and early history are still a matter of debate among historians, but it is clear that African slaves played a crucial role in the development of the art form. Some historians claim that slaves used capoeira’s dance-like appearance as a way to hide their training of combat and self-defense.
  • “The Loving Story.” Saturday, February 27, 2016, at 3 p.m. Location, TBA. This film will include small and large group discussions facilitated by Elke Cumming, Special Assistant to the CEO from YWCA El Paso Del Norte Region and Dr. Lucia Dura, Assistant Professor, UTEP
  • “Slavery by Another Name.” Saturday, June 11, 2016, at 1 p.m. El Paso Museum of History, 510 N. Santa Fe Street. Dr. Maceo Crenshaw Dailey, Director of African American Studies at UTEP, will lead a discussion following the film.

“The Abolitionists,” which will be screened on Saturday, was released in 2013 which marked the 150th anniversary year of the Emancipation Proclamation. Following the film, visitors can enhance their experience with a visit to the “Frankly My Dear: The Art and Impact of Gone with the Wind” at the El Paso Museum of History.

For more information, call (915) 351-3588.

Students, Teachers Love new SISD’s WIN Academy

The innovative new WIN Academy, which the Socorro Independent School District launched this school year, has Team SISD students and teachers excited about new approaches to teaching and learning.

The excitement was evident the first two weeks of school as students, teachers and parents alike expressed their pride in being part of the one-of-a-kind program. The WIN Academy, which is designed to help students who have not been successful in a “traditional” school setting, also has spread a greater focus on helping all students succeed district-wide.

“I see great momentum among not only our WIN students but all students,” said SISD School Improvement Officer Holly Fields. “The WIN teachers have set high expectations for their WIN students and these students have welcomed the challenge willingly.  It has become a contagious culture that all students want to be a part of.”

The WIN Academy started this year at 10 SISD schools. The program is serving about 20 students in grades second through fifth at eight schools, in third grade at one elementary school and sixth grade at one middle school.

The principals at the schools said the WIN Academy has generated lots of interest among students, staff and the community. While the campuses are adjusting to new schedules and different approaches to the school day, the overall launch has been extremely positive.

“The success we have seen up to this point is due to the commitment of all stakeholders, including the superintendent, principals, teachers, parents, students and District Service Center personnel,” said Chief Academic Officer Alisa C. Zapata-Farmer.

At Campestre Elementary School, principal Rosie Vasquez said the WIN Academy has emerged as the high point of the new school year with many students asking how they, too, can be part of the program.

“Visitors to the school are saying ‘Show me the WIN Academy classes,’” Vasquez said. “The excitement is across the campus. It’s a great thing!”

Students have experienced a positive start in the WIN Academy. They have been adjusting to a longer school day, a double dose of reading and math daily, and they eagerly started work on their new laptops and tablets.

“They love the technology. Also, students that may have exhibited some behavior issues last school year are responding with a better attitude toward school and learning,” Fields said. “They feel honored to be a part of the WIN Academy and their teachers have gone above and beyond to make them feel so special.”

Mission Ridge Elementary students enjoyed their first few weeks back in school and in the WIN Academy.

“This year we are going to use our tablets to do math, reading and science. Now, we’re not going to do it with paper, we’re going to do it on our tablets,” said Andrea Armendariz, a third grader at Mission Ridge.  “It’s the first time I’m going to use a tablet. It makes me feel good and happy.”

As the program progresses, school and district staff will continue to refine the technology, resources, scheduling and all aspects to ensure the WIN Academy achieves its overarching goal – give students who need extra help two or more years’ worth of knowledge in a fast track, demanding, flexible education system.

In addition, students and teachers are establishing relationships that will guide them toward their future success. The students in the program will be with the same teacher for multiple years so that they receive more personalized learning from educators that know them and treat them as if they are their own children.

Mission Ridge third grader Gino Salas is happy with his teacher and experience in the WIN Academy.

“The teacher is nice. She teaches us how to read and she teaches us a lot of stuff. She reads us stories. I’m going to have fun with her,” Salas said.

Author: Socorro ISD


Rancher fights, wins to get land back from BLM

Fighting for truth, justice and the Texas way. Sounds like a job for Superman! And the Man of Steel answered the call. But he wasn’t wearing blue tights and a red cape.

Adorned in jeans, boots and a cowboy hat, this superhero took on a government juggernaut, mired in its rules and regulations, in a battle over private property rights. His name is Tommy Henderson.

Tommy didn’t flex mighty muscles to win a battle over the rights to his land. He used a shrewd mind. A willingness to cooperate. And the tenacity of a bulldog to achieve his goal: reclaim 94 acres he lost to the federal government in the 1980s.

That land was awarded to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in a dispute between Tommy and an Oklahoma neighbor. The case revolved around changes in the course of the Red River and its boundaries. Thus ensued a three-decade-long battle to get the land back.

It involved legal skirmishes. Courtroom battles. Hard feelings. But then things changed. Texas Farm Bureau engaged. The BLM entered into meaningful negotiations. Solutions were explored. And a fix was found.

Henderson reclaimed his land through a process called “color of title.” Land and tax payments he made in the past were counted as payments already made to determine the buyback of the disputed property.

This solution sets a precedent for others along the Red River with similar stories. BLM’s Steve Tryon encourages landowners to visit their office before they file an application. BLM will lay out the steps, the timing and the calendaring and make sure assigned staff is there to help.

There are other options as well.

Texas Farm Bureau and Congressman Mac Thornberry’s office are working on a Congressional fix for other landowners affected by land disputes on the Red River. The legislation will affirm property rights and ensure other landowners don’t have to endure Tommy’s problems.

It’s all immense satisfaction for this Red River farmer and rancher. He reclaimed land his family originally settled in the 1860s. He’s putting that land to good use. And he’s plowed ground for other landowners with clouded title issues to do the same.

He saw a sea of change in the attitude of a government agency he had been at odds with for years. A spirit of cooperation. A willingness to find solutions. And a fix for his land.

Truth, justice and the Texas way. They always win out in the end.

A super job by a Superman. Congratulations, Tommy!

Author:   – Director of Publications, Texas Farm Bureau

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