USD Professor Moderates Discussion About Javier Sicilia

San Diego, CA – Both heartbreaking and inspiring, “El Poeta” tells the story of renowned Mexican poet Javier Sicilia and the brutal killing of his 24-year-old son, Juan Francisco. His death—collateral damage in a drug war that has left more than 100,000 dead or missing since 2006—ignited mass protests and an ongoing international movement for peace after. A film by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway of Loteria Films, “El Poeta” airs Sunday, May 12, 2015, 11:00 p.m. ET on KPBS as part of VOCES, Latino Public Broadcasting’s arts and culture series on PBS, presented by PBS SoCaL.

A preview screening of the film will be held Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 6:30-8:00 PM at Logan Heights Library, followed by a moderated discussion led by Dr. David Shirk, Professor of Political Science and International Relations at University of San Diego.

Shirk, who directs the Justice in Mexico Project (, conducts research on Mexican politics, U.S.-Mexican relations, and law enforcement and security along the U.S.-Mexican border. For ten years he directed the Trans-Border Institute, which works to promote greater analysis and understanding of Mexico, U.S.-Mexico relations and the border region.

“El Poeta” follows the journey of Sicilia and his movement as they make their way from Mexico’s most embattled cities – Juarez, Chihuahua, Durango and others – to the U.S. Inspired by the international movements of 1968 and the American civil rights movement, Sicilia’s “Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity” travel from the southwest to deep south cities including Jackson and Selma.

Drawing on the philosophical, artistic and spiritual dimensions of Sicilia, a devout Catholic whose influences range from Ghandi to liberation theology to mystic poetry – and who was named one of Time Magazine’s People of the Year in 2011 – “El Poeta” transforms the hard news story of drugs, murder and corruption into a deeply personal examination of the impact of the ultimate loss on the human psyche – as well as the power of protest and the courage of conviction to inspire positive change.

For more information, contact Clare Pister at (619) 594-2487 or

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Produced by Latino Public Broadcasting, VOCES is PBS’ signature Latino arts and culture documentary showcase and the only ongoing national television series devoted to exploring and celebrating the rich diversity of the Latino cultural experience. The series is presented by PBS SoCaL and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, the Ford Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation through a grant from the NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant Program. More information about VOCES is available at VOCES on Facebook or Twitter.

About Latino Public Broadcasting
Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is the leader in the development, production, acquisition, and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural media that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to public broadcasting stations and other public telecommunication entities. Latino Public Broadcasting provides a voice to the diverse Latino community throughout the United States and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Between 2009 and 2014, LPB programs won 85 awards, including the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, two Emmys, two Imagen Awards and the Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Director, Documentary. In addition, LPB has been the recipient of the Norman Lear Legacy Award and the NCLR Alma Award for Special Achievement – Year in Documentaries.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Jeryldine Tully
(619) 260-4786