Las Cruces – More than 1.7 million children in this country have a parent in state or federal prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. New Mexico State University's seventh annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium will bring attention to the issues facing these children and those whose immigrant parents are detained in this region with a two-day conference on Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1 at the Las Cruces Convention Center.
"Our state and federal criminal justice and immigration/border enforcement policies impact children and families in profound ways," said Lisa Bond-Maupin, NMSU College of Arts and Sciences associate dean and symposium planning co-chair. "While we often speak as a state, region and nation concerned for the well being of children, we tend to forget the suffering and collateral punishment of the children of those detained or imprisoned."
The J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium, as an expression of NMSU's land grant mission, is devoted each year to an issue of concern to the state and region. This year's symposium will include a series of panels and discussions with 20 guest speakers from around the region who will address the impact on children with imprisoned or detained parents in New Mexico. In addition, youth from the J. Paul Taylor facility will be featured speakers and guests who will be reading or performing creative work on the first day. The event will culminate with working group sessions committed to a Children's Bill of Rights, which will target opportunities for organizing sustainable change in policy and practice on behalf of these children.
"The symposium provides an opportunity to listen to stories of these children and their families," Bond-Maupin said. "It brings people together from higher education, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, social services, the courts, school districts and advocacy organizations to learn from their stories, discuss best practices in the field and work together to minimize harm of our public policies in the lives of these children."
New Mexico Secretary of Corrections Lupe Martinez will join NMSU Executive Vice President and Provost Wendy K. Wilkins to begin the symposium. Keynote speakers include Yali Lincroft, a policy consultant with 15 years experience in local, state and federal policy and program planning, and Renny Golden, author, poet and prisoner advocate. Her book "War on the Family: Imprisoned Mothers and the Families They Left Behind" was a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the area of social science research.
All of the symposium's discussions will be conducted at the Las Cruces Convention Center. A full schedule of the symposium can be downloaded and printed at http://jpts.nmsu.edu/schedule11.html.
Admission is free, but space is limited. For registration information for the symposium visit the J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium website at http://jpts.nmsu.edu.