Speakers

Learn more about our event speakers below.

Margarita Cabrera received an MFA from Hunter College in New York, NY. Her recent work includes an exhibit at the El Paso Museum of Art, a show entitled “Pop Departures” at the Seattle Art Museum. Her work has been included in galleries such as 516Arts, Sara Meltzer, Walter Maciel, and Synderman-Works. Her work has been included in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; the McNay Museum San Antonio; the Sweeney Art Center for Contemporary Art at the University of California, Riverside, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, and El Museo del Barrio, NYC, LA County Museum of Art, CA. In 2012 she was a recipient of the Knight Artist in Residence at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, NC. Cabrera was also a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant.

Deepen in the wisdom of your story as you connect with Cabrera. She will invite people to the Arbol de la Vida: Memorias y Voces de la Tierra , a true collaborative art project that has brought the diverse community of San Antonio together to give sculptural form to individuals’ local stories that transcend time. More than 700 people, 700 stories and 700 sculptures have been created by the local community, honoring and celebrating Mission San Francisco de la Espada, a World Heritage Site, bringing to light its rich, natural and cultural environment.

Arbol de la Vida’s creative process included storytelling, dialogues, ceramic sculpture workshops throughout the City, and a coming together and unveiling celebration to honor our cultural history, diversity, and newly bonded community.

Stories from the Arbol will also be celebrated in the 2021 World Heritage Festival in September, which remembers the significance of our Missions, UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites.

Cabrera explains, “My work centers on social-political community issues including cultural identity, migration, violence, inclusivity, labor, and empowerment. I create sculptures made out of mediums ranging from steel, copper, wood, ceramics, and fabric. I have worked on a number of collaborative projects at the intersection of contemporary art practices, indigenous Mexican folk art and craft traditions, and US-Mexico relations. In addition to studying and preserving endangered cultural and craft traditions, these projects have served as active investigations into the creation of just working conditions and the protection of immigrant rights. My emphasis is on creating a social consciousness through my work, generating solutions to these problems through my art and empowering all members of highly diverse communities.”

Whether editing the first anthology of Black Texas writers to be published in the Wittliff Collections' book series through Texas A&M University Press, or putting South Texas daily news in larger perspectives of social justice and the common good, Cary Clack blesses thousands of us as a storyteller and compassionate friend. He received Gemini Ink’s Award for Literary Excellence in 2020. He was applauded as a San Antonio Peace Laureate in January 2021. In the midst of pandemics of COVID and revealed racism, his consistent and courageous work is creating a better future for our city and our society.

In 2017, Clack was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters, an Honor Society founded in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature. This includes the state’s most respected writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, and scholarship.

Clack graduated from St. Gerard’s High School, then earned a BA in Political Science from St. Mary’s University in 1985. He worked as a Scholar-Intern at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, where Clack wrote CNN commentaries for Coretta Scott King.

His history at the San Antonio Express-News began in 1994 as a columnist, and he was later the first African-American on the editorial board of a San Antonio daily, as well as the first metro columnist. He has won numerous awards for his writing and his work, Clowns and Rats Scare Me, a book of his columns, was published by Trinity University Press in 2009.

Clack has served in communications roles for Joaquin Castro, Mayor Ivy Taylor, and with Merced Housing Texas. Fortunately for us, Clack has circled back to regular columns and the Editorial Board of the San Antonio Express-News. See a list of this recent writing.

Living in my Skin, an exhibit of paintings and the documentary featuring the Black men portrayed in them, will be discussed by the creator of this project, Lionel Sosa. Sosa has been a longtime friend of UIW, with the Agnese-Sosa Building named for him. His brother Robert Sosa served in the UIW Development Office and assisted the University in raising millions of dollars to help students.

In Sosa’s own words: “One morning last June, my wife, Kathy and I were walking our dogs in Southtown where we live, when I saw a sign on a shop window that read, “You can’t be anti-racist, unless you’re actively anti-racist.” This was just a month after millions around the world had watched George Floyd, a Black man, arrested and choked to death by a white policeman. The issue of race and race relations was on everyone’s mind. Feelings were raw. I couldn’t stop thinking about that poster – it spoke to me. It told me to do something.

But what?

My late brother, Robert, had been actively anti-racist all his adult life. He never missed an MLK march, visited all the places in the south where Black history was made, and even created and taught a course at the University of the Incarnate Word on Civil Rights History. Me? All I ever did was to visit the Martin Luther King statue in DC. It made me feel empty.

That same morning, I was scheduled to meet with Brandon Logan and Seymour Battle, both Black professionals, to discuss a real estate transaction. I mentioned the poster and the effect it made on me and asked, ‘What’s it like to live as a Black man in San Antonio?’ Brandon replied, ‘Let me tell you about the daily challenge of living in my skin.’

The stories from the two men that followed blew me away. As a Latino and person of color, I’ve had a few experiences with discrimination, but nothing like this. Chills ran through me as I listened and tried to put myself in their shoes.

The answer to my ‘But what?’ became apparent. Then and there, Kathy, Brandon, Seymour and I decided that the stories of Black men in San Antonio must be told.”

The Black population of San Antonio is only 7%, yet it hosts the largest MLK march in the nation. Additionally, 63% of our citizens are Hispanic, making us a majority-minority city. Many perceive San Antonio to be culturally enlightened and highly evolved. Is it?

“Living in My Skin” features over 30 oil-on-linen portraits by Lionel Sosa of Black men, ages 10 to 90, as well as a two-part film documentary which premiered on PBS station KLRN in February 2021 during Black History Month. The series can be streamed at the KLRN streaming site. Thirty-three Black males, ranging in age from 10 to 90, tell stories they seldom share with people outside their race. The purpose of this project is to shine a light on today’s reality of what it’s like to be a Black man or boy in San Antonio, and to help bring about a better understanding of each other as a community. The two-part documentary also aims to create a deeper understanding of race relations in our community, and foster a deeper cultural understanding of each other’s lives and feelings.

Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D., is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of thirty volumes, as well as over 200 articles in books, magazines, newspapers and online journals. For the past twenty-seven years, he has been a Core Faculty member in the Mythological Studies Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA, where he holds the rank of Distinguished Professor Emeritus. He has taught for the past fifty-two years at the elementary, secondary, undergraduate, and graduate levels. From 1984-87, he taught teachers the classics of literature in the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture’s Summer Program for Teachers. He also taught for six years at the Fairhope Institute of Humanities and Culture’s Summer Program for high school teachers under the direction of Dr. Larry Allums, former director of the Dallas Institute. Additionally, he has taught at Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University and the University of the Incarnate Word.

His writings include: The Idiot: Dostoevsky’s Fantastic Prince (1984); The Wounded Body: Remembering the Markings of Flesh (2000); A Pilgrimage Beyond Belief: Spiritual Journeys through Christian and Buddhist Monasteries of the American Wes (2017); Harvesting Darkness: Essays on Literature, Myth, Film and Culture (2006) ; With Glen Slater he coedited Varieties of Mythic Experience: Essays on Religion, Psyche and Culture (2008); with Jennifer Selig he co-edited Reimagining Education: Essays on Reviving the Soul of Learning (2009); An Obscure Order: Reflections On Cultural Mythologies (2020); with Deborah Anne Quibell and Jennifer Leigh Selig, he has coauthored Deep Creativity: Seven Ways to Spark Your Creative Spirit, which won first place in the 2020 Nautilus Book Awards under the category “Creativity and Inspiration.” He has also published seven volumes of poetry and one novel. He offers (W)riting Retreats on personal mythology using the writings of Joseph Campbell and others to Jungian groups and other organizations in the United States and Europe.

His presentation, Transforming Moral Injury into Communal Healing, will engage the growing phenomenon of moral injury that is inspired by the work of Larry Kent Graham’s Moral Injury: Restoring Wounded Souls. He explained, “ My interest in moral injury grew out of our national malady that accelerated under the last administration and now has a life of its own in the form of fantasies that continue to dissociate so many from a common shared reality. Alternative realities now have a life of their own. Divisiveness is the wounding consequence of such dissonance that corrodes the shared mythology that we thought we could take for granted.”

He continued, “Graham’s solution, followed by my own reflections in the spirit of healing into wholeness, includes the three-part processes of 1) renewal, 2) hope, and 3) repair. The consequence of such a recognition is a validation in a person’s ability ‘to reclaim the experience of that deepest part of themselves and work on healing the wound, as Graham asserts.’

The presentation will conclude with a “Ritual Act of Forgiveness.”

Dr. Jim C. Harrington, attorney and advocate, founded the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) in 1990, having been inspired by and involved with the United Farm Workers’ movement in the Rio Grande Valley. He directed TCRP for 25 years, fighting for the rights of Texans with disabilities, immigrants, workers in need of fair labor conditions and more.

As a young person, Harrington was influenced by his faith and summers working with migrant farm workers in Michigan. He wanted to help the disadvantaged, so he entered the seminary. After eight years, he came to believe that he could help more by being an attorney than by being a priest. After getting a law degree, he moved to Texas and began working for the Texas branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. With his education in social justice, he fought for workers’ rights alongside Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. Harrington had a reputation for taking on powerful adversaries, including the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas State Bar. He worked on a variety of cases, including civil rights, workers’ rights, racial discrimination, as well as many cases under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Harrington was an adjunct law professor at the University of Texas, popular with students who sought more than a theoretical perspective. Working with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, they secured farm workers' rights to sanitary facilities, toilets, and drinking water in the fields. They also secured unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation, and the right to know about dangerous chemicals used in the workplace. They won a Texas ban on the use of the short-handled hoe, which went into effect in 1981.

Since retiring as director of the TCRP, Harrington has served at St. James' Episcopal Church in Austin directing Proyecto Santiago and was ordained to the priesthood. Listen to him reflect on stories “With Job, Harriet Tubman, and John Lewis on the 4th of July” At Trinity Church in Austin.

Melinda K. Adams, Ph.D. is professor and program chair of UIW’s Juren Sullivan Fashion Management Program. She has received certifications in Sustainability in Fashion and Sustainability: Concepts, Practices, and Applications for Fashion. Dr. Adams teaches the Sustainability in Fashion class in the Fashion Management program. In her class, students learn about how the clothes we wear impact the lives of those who make them, as well as the planet. She has worked on research relating to sustainability and fast fashion.

Dr. Ana Vallor is the current chair of UIW’s Department of Biology and the Sr. Joseph Marie Armer CCVI Endowed Chair in Natural Science. She is an inaugural fellow of the SA Compassionate Institute 2020. A first-generation college graduate born in the Rio Grande Valley, Vallor earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from St. Mary’s University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Virology and Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Vallor has been involved in conducting microbial studies in mother-infant microbial transmission, antifungal drug testing and diagnostics, and assessment of probiotic microbial species in prevention of sexually transmitted pathogens in women. Currently, her research involves the investigation of an anti-parasitic drug biotransformation and discovery of new antimicrobial compounds produced by South Texas soil microorganisms.

Along with conducting research with her undergraduate students, Dr. Vallor loves football, classic films (she’s an avid Star Wars fan), the history of science, and vacationing on the Texas coast with her husband and daughters.

Margaret Mitchell has designed costumes and scenery professionally for over 30 years, and she is a professor of Theatre Arts at the University of the Incarnate Word. Her professional credits include Ballet Idaho, Dallas Shakespeare, Austin Shakespeare, and The Zach Theatre, among others. Mitchell's design work has represented the United States at the Prague Quadrennial three times and at World Stage Design. Her costume designs are published in Rebecca Cunningham's book, The Magic Garment, and in Brockett and Ball's The Essential Theatre.

With Oscar Brockett and Linda Hardberger, Mitchell is co-author of Making the Scene: A History of Stage Design and Technology in Europe and the United States; this book received two national book awards. Mitchell is also a contributing author to Performance Costumes: New Perspectives and Methods. She serves as a general editor for Theatre Design and Technology and as an editorial board member for the international journal, Studies in Costume and Performance.

In her session, participants will reflect on how Mitchell’s first community service project that involved visits with three incarcerated people separated from their own children. Mitchell will share how these visits led to the formation of true friendships of real commitment and love.

Kathy Vargas, San Antonio artist and photographer, received her MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1984. She has had one-person exhibits at Sala Uno in Rome, Galeria Juan Martin in Mexico City, Centro Recoleta in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and retrospectives at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio and Universitat Erlangen in Germany. Her group shows include "Hospice: A Photographic Inquiry," a national traveling exhibit commissioned by the Corcoran Gallery and “Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation (CARA).”

Her work is in the collections of the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, the Toledo Art Museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Sprint Collection. Named the 2005 Texas Two-Dimensional Artist of the Year by the Texas Commission on the Arts, she also received a Lightwork Residency in 1993 and Art Pace Residencies in 1997. Her papers are housed at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. She is currently associate professor of Art at the University of the Incarnate Word.

Bishop Trevor Alexander was born in Romford, Essex in England. He and his wife Emma have three wonderful girls. Bishop Trevor holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology with an emphasis on Family and Religious Studies from the University of the Incarnate Word, a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from Oblate School of Theology and a Doctor of Divinity from St. Thomas Christian College and Seminary in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Bishop Alexander is currently serving as Protestant chaplain and adjunct faculty at UIW. He is a retiree from the U.S. Army, where he served as a combat engineer and a drill sergeant. Amongst his other accomplishments, he is the senior pastor of True Vine Church and the Southwest Texas Regional Bishop for the Kingdom Council of Interdependent Christian Churches and Ministries. 

Bishop Alexander has published several articles on matters pertaining to the African-American community and has presented in numerous conferences locally, nationally and internationally. On Feb. 15, 2016, he was inducted to the San Antonio Blackbook Worship Hall of Fame. In February 2018, Bishop was recognized by the University of the Incarnate Word’s Black History Month Committee with the Alumni of Distinction Award. 

His session, “Living our Lives using the Three R’s: It’s Time to Reflect, Reconnect and Rediscover,” invites attendees to do just that. Using the Sankofa Approach, participants will “look back,” (reflect) on where we have been, ground in our present reality (reconnect), and then move forward to the greater wholeness (rediscover).  

Dr. Sandra Guzman-Foster is the Sister Theophane Power Endowed Chair and an associate professor in the Graduate Studies Department of the UIW Dreeben Scool of Education. She was recently named the UIW Moody Professor for the 2021-2022 academic year, an honor for outstanding teaching, research and excellence as a faculty member. She was also recently invited to be on the editorial board of the  Journal for Trauma Studies

Dr. Guzman-Foster conducts workshops on topics related to critical reflection, the “3Ds” (discussion, debate, and dialogue), inclusive education, equity, diversity and social justice.  

She is a proponent of transformative learning education opportunities and is a strong believer in building bridges, not walls when it comes to racial, cultural, and interfaith understanding.  

Dr. Arturo Chávez is the Assistant Vice President for UIW Mission and Ministry and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

Nationally recognized for his efforts to combat racism and poverty, Catholic Charities USA recognized him as “…a national champion of the poor” with the 2010 “Keep the Dream Alive Award” in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Additionally, he served on President Obama’s Council for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  

Dr. Chávez was formerly President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mexican American Catholic College (MACC) in San Antonio. There, he also served as a faculty member and helped develop the college’s curricula on intercultural competencies and the roots of racism. He also served as the Chief Executive Officer and director of Community Development of the Benedictine Resources Center, a nonprofit organization engaged in social justice education, community development and legislation, also located in San Antonio. 

Dr. Chávez has worked for over 28 years in a variety of ministries – as a teacher, youth minister, a chaplain to the incarcerated, and a community organizer. He founded a nonprofit youth organization called JOVEN and was instrumental in establishing other faith-based partnerships to address the urgent needs of poor and disenfranchised families. His commitment to community-based activism, education, and peace-building continues through his ministry as a teacher, facilitator, and international speaker. 

Chávez received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from UIW and a Master of Arts degree in Theological studies from the Oblate School of Theology. He received the Ph.D. in Religious and Theological Studies from the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver’s joint Ph.D. program in Religion and Social Change. His doctoral studies centered on religion and social change, focusing on how racism can be deconstructed through courageous leadership and community organizing. He was mentored by wise veterans of the African American and Indigenous Peoples’ civil rights movements. UIW recognized Chávez with the Alumni of Distinction Award in 2008. 

In his session, “Stories of La Llorona (the weeping woman) and the Truth About Race,” Chávez will explore the traditional stories of La Llorona to examine how the history of systemic racism continues to plague communities, especially those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. What truths does this folk tale teach that can lead to personal transformation and systemic change? 

Dr. Alfredo Ortiz Aragón is associate professor in the Dreeben School of Education, an action-researcher and designer and facilitator of organizational change processes, working in international and local development contexts for the last 18 years. He prioritizes critical reflection on how power relationships between people enable and constrain “desirable” and “feasible” change. He believes that increased awareness of the role all people play in including and excluding diverse ways of understanding and acting in the world can lead to new perspectives and increased inclusion of marginalized people, causes, ideas and ways of knowing. He recently co-authored Action Research, 5th edition, with Ernest T. Stringer. The book provides research that produces practical, effective, and sustainable outcomes to real-world problems. He is also associate editor of the Action Research Journal.  

Dr. Joan Labay-Marquez is the graduate studies coordinator for the Dreeben School of Education (DSE) and serves on the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Review Board for the NASPA Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education. She is a lawyer whose teaching focuses on law and social justice in higher education. She serves as advisor to the Compassionate Student Peer Organization at UIW and is part of a phenomenal team of faculty, administrators, community leaders, graduate students and mentors who are organizing the Young Women's Global Leadership Program San Antonio and the Girls Global Leadership Summit. Read about what is developing. Would you like to be involved? Involve your students. Involve the young people in your life.

Join Dr. Joan Labay-Marquez in her session, "Young Women’s Global Leadership Program- Facing and changing gender inequality one girl at a time,” for a photovoice presentation with the Compassion Student Peer Organization graduate students. Learn of transformation.

LuElla D'Amico is an Associate Professor of English and the coordinator of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at the University of the Incarnate Word. Before coming to UIW, she spent three years as an assistant professor of English and the director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. There, she was trained in Intergroup Dialogue, a pedagogical framework she uses in her classes today. Intergroup dialogue provides a structured model designed to help facilitate conversation between members of two or more identity groups with the end goal of achieving empathy and deeper understanding. At UIW, D’Amico regularly hosts speakers and facilitates conversations on campus about women’s and gender studies topics, including but not limited to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on women, romance culture on Catholic college campuses, body positivity, and boys’ experiences of masculine socialization in the U.S.

D’Amico’s primary research interests lie in girlhood and girl culture in early and nineteenth-century American literature. She studies sentimental literature during this timeframe, with a particular focus on Christian feminist rhetoric. She has published articles in Girlhood Studies, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Children's Literature in Education, Who Writes for Black Children?: African American Children's Literature Before 1900, and Nineteenth Century American Women Writers and Theologies of the Afterlife, among other publications. She also has edited a volume about the history of girls’ book series in the U.S. titled Girls’ Series Fiction and American Popular Culture, and is co-editor of Reading Transatlantic Girlhood in the Long Nineteenth Century. D’Amico currently serves as president of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Society and is the “Year in Conferences” director for ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture.

Dhawn B. Martin is the Executive Director of the Source of Light (SoL) Center of San Antonio, an interfaith education and peace building center. Martin’s research interests focus on the intersections of faith commitments and political activism. She is co-editor of the volume Ecological Solidarities: Mobilizing Faith and Justice for an Entangled World (Penn State University Press, 2019). Her publications include, “A Cosmopolitical Theology: Engaging ‘The Political’ as an Incarnational Field of Emergence,” in Common Goods: Economy, Ecology, and Political Theology and “A Provisional Politics: Reclaiming Grace at the Intersections of Religion and Politics,” in CrossCurrents, Volume 64, Issue 3. She serves on the board of the San Antonio Community Resource Directory (SACRD). Martin enjoys playing guitar, walking and writing.

The joint session, "Interfaith Peace Building: One Story at a Time," is hosted by Dhawn B. Martin and Rev. Wyndee Holbrook. During the pandemic, weekly faith leaders have come together, not only responding to needs, but growing together as people of compassion. The City of San Antonio Faith-Based Office, led by Rev. Ann Helmke, coordinated as the mayor expressed the greatest needs for each week. Join in conversations with people from the Raindrop Foundation of San Antonio, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Bridges to Care and others.

Larry Hufford, PhD, joined St. Mary’s in 1993 as a professor of Political Science and International Relations. Before St. Mary’s, Hufford taught Political Science and Peace and Justice Studies at the University of the Incarnate Word (then Incarnate Word College) for 20 years. He previously worked with the United Farm Workers during the Talisman Sugar company strike in 1972 and was a VISTA volunteer in Robstown, Texas, in 1966 and 1967. From 1967 to 1968, Hufford was an Instructor of Government at Texas A&I University in Kingsville.

In past years, Hufford has been invited to lecture at universities in Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Bangladesh, Mexico, England, Spain, Taiwan, Vietnam and Sweden. He has served as an official non-governmental organization (NGO) observer for presidential elections in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala. He is the past president of the International World Council for Curriculum and Instruction, a Peace Education NGO with B Status in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and past president of the Economic and Business Historical Society. In addition to his presidencies, he has held leadership positions in a variety of organizations. He has served as a board member of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Social and Economic Justice, the Society of Mary Committee for Social Justice and Global Awareness, and Merced Housing of Texas; he was also a board member and president of the San Antonio Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ) and North American Communities: United for Equity (NAC:UE).

Hufford has authored five books and co-authored four. The titles are Educating For A Worldview: Focus on Globalizing Curriculum and Instruction; Educating for Balance: Science Technology and the Human Spirit; Meet the Professor: Essays in Philosophy by Sean Burke; The United States in Central America: An Analysis of the Kissinger Commission Report; D.B.: Reminiscences of D.B. Hardeman; Bridging Two Cultures: Multidisciplinary Readings in Bilingual Bicultural Education; Sweden’s Power Elite; Sweden: The Myth of Socialism; Icke-Våld (Nonviolence).

Regarding service to the City of San Antonio, Hufford has served in the following ways: as chairperson of the City Land Use and Transportation Committee, on the City Planning Commission (1981-1984), as chairperson of the research task force for the City Community Revitalization Action Group (CRAG) (1997-1999), as a member of CRAG II (1999-2001), as chairperson of the Alternatives to Violence Issue Team, as a member of the City Educational Facilities Corporation, on the City Blue Ribbon Committee on Redistricting, and on the City/County Task Force on Tax Abatement Policy. He was appointed by then-Texas Gov. Anne Richards to serve on the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners District IV Review Committee (1994-2000).

Hufford received the St. Mary’s University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Faculty Award (1997 and 2002) and the Marianist Heritage Award (2005); he was also a Danforth Foundation Associate (1977-1983), was named a Piper Professor of Texas (1983), was selected as Moody Foundation Professor (1988-1990), and was a Visiting Researcher at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research (Uppsala University, Sweden, 1984-1985). Hufford has received multiple community awards as well, including: the Douglas Foundation Community Leadership Award (1993), the Baha’i Unity of Humanity Award (2012), and the Dialogue Institute Friendship Award (2017).

Hufford has authored 31 articles that have appeared in the National Catholic Reporter, Texas Observer, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Current Research on Peace and Violence, America, Essays in Economic and Business History, Journal of Interdisciplinary Education, Hispanic Outlook, International Journal of Curriculum and Instruction, Revista Espaco Academico (Brazil), and Race Today (England). Opinion pieces have appeared on the editorial pages of the Christian Science Monitor, San Antonio Express News, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Oregonian, Newsday, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Amarillo News-Globe, San Antonio Current, the now-defunct San Antonio Light, Rivard Report and the Baltimore Evening Sun.

From August 1972 through Fall 2019, Hufford presented 89 papers at professional conferences, including conferences in Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Japan, the Netherlands, Egypt, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Australia, Spain, Vietnam, Israel, West Bank Palestine, Northern Ireland and England. Hufford has held six photo exhibits illustrating global experiences at Defiance College (Ohio), Augsburg College (Minnesota), Grinnell College (Iowa), St. Mary’s University (Texas) and Providence High School (Texas).

The Rev. Ann Helmke

City of San Antonio, Faith Based Office Liaison

The Rev. Ann Helmke is an ordained Lutheran (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) minister who has been serving the San Antonio community for over 30 years. She has served in a congregational setting and is one of the co-founders of the San Antonio peaceCENTER, which was founded 25 years ago. She continues to serve as the animating director with this all-volunteer and interfaith organization.

Helmke also served for seven years as director of spiritual services at Haven for Hope, a San Antonio homeless transformational center. Since 2017, she has been the faith liaison for the City of San Antonio in the Department of Human Services. In that role, hundreds of people have been unified to work together in improving the lives of families and communities most in need via relational coordination, intentional partnerships and network activation between the faith community, government agencies, nonprofits and community groups.

In her position as faith liaison, Helmke helps the city understand the concerns of its congregations and other faith-based groups, and vice versa. There are approximately 1,400 congregations of various faiths in San Antonio: Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Indigenous and others.

Helmke is committed to community service and has had a committed core team with the San Antonio peaceCENTER for 25+ years. For the last 10 years, they have carefully nurtured the Charter for Compassion movement in San Antonio. In 2017, the mayor and city council officially declared San Antonio as a Compassionate City by signing into action the Compassionate San Antonio Resolution.

The number of Compassionate Cities has grown from its initial 100 members to nearly 450. San Antonio is a leader in terms of the education of compassion, as well as the policy and decision-making of our civic leaders. Today, the San Antonio peaceCENTER is doing business as Compassionate San Antonio to ensure the Compassionate City survives and thrives beyond election cycles. Mayor Ron Nirenberg's sharing with 30 Canadian mayors is a glimpse of amazing, compassionate action in the City of San Antonio, and Helmke is a main organizer for growing the SA Compassionate Institute.

Gabriel T. Saxton-Ruiz is professor of Spanish (Latin American Literature and Culture) at the University of the Incarnate Word. Before coming to UIW, he was associate professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies and vice chair of Humanistic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Saxton-Ruiz has always placed a strong emphasis on cultural diplomacy in his teaching, research and campus/community service. At UW-Green Bay, Saxton-Ruiz created the Scholar-in-Residence program, which hosted Peruvian and Spanish novelists, sustainability researchers from Chile, and an Argentine journalist and human rights activist. The visiting scholars spent two months on campus teaching and giving public lectures, and upon returning to their home countries, finished teaching their classes via Skype.

His classes are designed to provide many opportunities for international dialogue that range from Q&A events with Nicaragua’s former vice president, Sergio Ramírez, to workshops with cartonero publishers, who use recycled materials to create books, to more informal activities such as the virtual conversational Spanish groups with UIW’s affiliated campus in Mexico City. A strong proponent of study abroad, Saxton-Ruiz has organized faculty-led immersion programs to Alicante, Spain, on several occasions.

He received his Bachelor’s in Spanish and French from Virginia Tech, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Modern Foreign Languages from the University of Tennessee. His research interests include twentieth and twenty-first century Latin American literature, popular culture studies, cultural gastronomy and representations of violence in various types of cultural productions. He has published Forasteros en tierra extraña (2012), a study on contemporary Peruvian literature and political violence, and co-edited the monograph La narrativa de Jorge Eduardo Benavides: Textos críticos (2018). Saxton-Ruiz is also the Editor-in-Chief of Stories from Peru, an online magazine of Peruvian literature in translation into English. His scholarly articles and translations have appeared in diverse publications in the UK, USA, Cuba and Peru including Words Without Borders, Revista Hiedra, Palabras Errantes and Revista Conjunto-Casa de las Américas.

Mary Lynne Gasaway Hill, PhD, FRSA, is a professor and the graduate program director in the Department of English Literature and Language at St. Mary’s University.

How do we forgive each other? What are ways to move toward forgiveness? Her session titled "Story and Forgiveness" examines these questions.

One way is to listen closely to each other’s stories. In this workshop, we will explore the dynamics of forgiveness through intentional story work, with a focus on metaphor and point of view. Some of the stories we engage in may be fact-based truth; others may be what Tim O’Brien calls “story truth.” All of them will offer the opportunity for us as a community to listen to and learn from each other.

She and her students have engaged in storytelling in the tradition of Tenx9, a storytelling event where nine people have up to ten minutes each to tell a true story from their own life. Founded in Belfast, Ireland, in 2011 by Paul Doran and Pádraig Ó Tuama. As we get to know each others' stories, we can build a more compassionate world.

Karen Ball has an undergraduate degree in the Administration of Justice and a Master’s degree in Criminology. Trained in mediation and community organizing, Karen engages with peace and justice movements grounded in nonviolent action. Ball is currently studying how trauma-informed civic engagement and a grounding in the ethic of compassion (a.k.a The Golden Rule) can co-create communities of care and re-genesis. She is serving with Community Engagement VISTA 2021-2022. She has been assisting the City Faith Based Office.

In two consecutive 50-minute segments titled "Stories That Shape Us," Ball and Sally Marie Hollingsworth will share their experience of personal agency within complex systems. In one segment, Ball reflects on what stories have shaped her activism around the abolishment of nuclear weapons. In the other segment, Hollingsworth describes her work in compassionate action within a public school.

Aug. 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb. Now the global Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has been ratified. Nuclear weapons are illegal in the world. Can we unite as law abiding global citizens? Learn about the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons – UNODA.

Kayla Miranda is a mother of four and the housing justice organizer on the Westside of San Antonio. As a tenant organizer, she has led numerous protests and public comment sessions. She writes for LaVoz de Esperanza, a magazine published by Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, as well as her own blog, westsidedefender.org. She is currently recording the pilot episode of a new housing justice talk show with the same name, Westside Defender, for Radio Esperanza’s 96.5 FM station. She is a founding member of the Coalition for Tenant Justice and is a board member of the Historic Westside Residents Association.

Miranda and Monica Cruz host a joint session titled "Fighting for Housing Justice: The struggle to preserve, protect and develop affordable housing for the working poor in San Antonio.” The Alazán-Apache Courts, also known as “Los Courts,” were built between 1939 and 1942 on San Antonio’s Westside and are the largest and oldest public housing development still in existence in the United States. Managed by the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA), the development has 685 units and houses with approximately 1,000 tenants who have average household incomes of $10,000 a year. Last year, SAHA leadership and the board of directors proposed to demolish Los Courts and replace them with a mixed-income development where only a small fraction of the units would be for families currently living there. Threatened with the possibility of being displaced, residents organized and fought to save the place they call home. SAHA has since reversed its decision to demolish Los Courts, and this presentation will tell the story of how local housing justice advocates have fought to preserve, protect and develop affordable housing for the working poor in San Antonio.

Monica Cruz is a community researcher and housing justice advocate. She has served on the For Everyone Home initiative for the City of San Antonio, which will develop an Anti-Displacement Agenda to preserve and protect affordable housing in the community. She believes housing is a human right and has worked collaboratively with housing justice advocates to highlight the need for deeply affordable housing in our city. She recently earned her Ph.D. in Applied Demography where her research focused on the effects of place-based economic development policies on communities with high concentrations of poverty. She currently works as a Special Research Associate at the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research (IDSER) at UTSA.

Cruz and Kayla Miranda host a joint session titled "Fighting for Housing Justice: The struggle to preserve, protect and develop affordable housing for the working poor in San Antonio.” The Alazán-Apache Courts, also known as “Los Courts,” were built between 1939 and 1942 on San Antonio’s Westside and are the largest and oldest public housing development still in existence in the United States. Managed by the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA), the development has 685 units and houses with approximately 1,000 tenants who have average household incomes of $10,000 a year. Last year, SAHA leadership and the board of directors proposed to demolish Los Courts and replace them with a mixed-income development where only a small fraction of the units would be for families currently living there. Threatened with the possibility of being displaced, residents organized and fought to save the place they call home. SAHA has since reversed its decision to demolish Los Courts, and this presentation will tell the story of how local housing justice advocates have fought to preserve, protect and develop affordable housing for the working poor in San Antonio.

Dr. Lopita Nath is a professor and chair of the History Department and the coordinator of the Asian Studies program at the University of the Incarnate Word. For over 13 years, she has organized service-learning program with the resettled refugee community in San Antonio. Her students from the Global Refugee course work every year with refugee families, helping them make the transition to life in America through her Mentoring a Refugee Family program and with community partners Catholic Charities and CIELO Unity in Action. These experiences have created many beautiful stories of building relationships, cultural understandings, interfaith learning and diversity. This presentation will bring you some of those heartfelt experiences, highlighting the compassion and understanding that goes into her work with the refugees. She has taught for over 31 years in the fields of Asian and World History, Migration Studies, Refugee Issues and Human Rights. Nath is a Fulbright Scholar and the recipient of the Social Science Research Council Award. At UIW, she was awarded the Edward A. Zlotkowski Faculty Award for Service Learning (2020), the Presidential Teaching Award (2019) and the Moody Professor Award (2015). She was also a Minnie Piper Award nominee (2020-21, 2015),  Her research expertise is on Migration in Asia, human displacement, refugees, citizenship and human rights. Her current research focuses on the Bhutanese Refugee Resettlement in the United States. Since 2010, she has visited the Bhutanese Refugee Camps in Nepal three times to understand the Bhutanese refugee crisis. She has also worked with resettled refugees in Columbus, Ohio, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Currently, she is working on her book on the Bhutanese Refugee Resettlement in the United States.

Nath and Sister Adriana Calzada, CCVI, host a joint session titled “Considering Refugees' and Immigrants' Stories.” Kofi. A. Annan said “most refugees are ordinary people living extraordinary lives. Driven from their homes by fear, conflict and persecution, they have had to give up jobs, possessions, dreams, even families in their struggle to survive. They remain one of the most vulnerable people in our societies. They need assistance and protection. And they need understanding.”

“Companion of People Pushed to the Edge, let me stand with the least and the lost. I will reach out my hand and welcome them.“ This is the prayer of Joyce Rupp as she invites us to continue our efforts to alleviate the suffering of people who are on the move. Many groups and organizations are reaching out with compassion, motivated by a sense of social justice. You are invited to learn how members of the UIW community are working alongside others in this network.

Sister Adriana Calzada Vasquez, CCVI, serves on the Incarnate Word Sisters Committee furthering assistance to immigrants and refugees through a grant from the Conrad Hilton Foundation, which is linking many religious groups in solidarity with God’s global family. She studied Engineering in her native Mexico City, but was attracted to two years of volunteer service in indigenous villages, which was sponsored by the IW Sisters lay volunteer program. Through this work, she grew in solidarity with God’s global family and decided to explore being an IW Sister. She had opportunities to study that path among IW Sisters in Peru and in the United States. As an IW Sister, she has served as a university campus minister and as a teacher in various cities in Mexico. More recently, Sr. Adriana completed an MA at the Chicago Theological Union before coming to pursue a Ph.D. in the Dreeben School of Education. Since the pandemic began, she has been a leader in setting up a program “Somos Tierra” for almost 200 people in five counties to study and discuss Pope Francis’ plea to care for creation, “Laudato Si.” She serves as a graduate assistant in the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability and has been doing youth ministry.

Sister Adriana and Dr. Lopita Nath host a joint session titled “Considering Refugees' and Immigrants' Stories.” Kofi. A. Annan said “most refugees are ordinary people living extraordinary lives. Driven from their homes by fear, conflict and persecution, they have had to give up jobs, possessions, dreams, even families in their struggle to survive. They remain one of the most vulnerable people in our societies. They need assistance and protection. And they need understanding.”

“Companion of People Pushed to the Edge, let me stand with the least and the lost. I will reach out my hand and welcome them.“ This is the prayer of Joyce Rupp as she invites us to continue our efforts to alleviate the suffering of people who are on the move. Many groups and organizations are reaching out with compassion, motivated by a sense of social justice. You are invited to learn how members of the UIW community are working alongside others in this network.

Jeff Neal is a United States Air Force veteran who served his country for over 24 years. He joined the Air Force as a joint planner assistant and later served as special assistant of joint matters for the director of joint staff. His assignments span from North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), to Iceland, Turkey, Little Rock Air Force Base and Scott Air Force Base, serving in the capacity as executive assistant to the vice commander of air mobility command. Neal retired from the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency as the executive assistant to the command chief. He is a survivor of the Sept. 11, 2001, Pentagon terrorist attack.

Neal is a doctoral student pursing a concentration in Student Services and Higher Education Administration in the Dreeben School of Education at the University of the Incarnate Word. He earned his Bachelor’s in Organizational Development and Master’s in Organizational Leadership. As an alumnus of UIW, he is actively involved on campus by serving as a graduate assistant in support of the UIW Strategic Priorities Planning Initiative. He is also a UIW Alumni board member, a PACE Veteran Peer Advisor, vice president of the UIW Compassionate Student Peer Organization, and a student researcher at the UIW Action Research Working Group in the graduate studies program. Neal is also an alumnus of the Alamo Federal Executive Board Leadership Program.

His passion for education as a lifelong learner is to serve students in underserved communities by facilitating experiential learning processes inside and outside of the classroom. Neal enjoys spending time with his family and volunteering at his local parish.

The session hosted by Neal, Kimberly Cox and Michelle Vasquez is title "Storytelling for Social Justice: Helping Parents of Children with Disabilities Discover Services and Support through Action Research in San Antonio.” This session will focus on community-based participatory research approaches examining how parents of children with disabilities - specifically with autism spectrum disorder - gain access to federal programs, social services and support. Empowering these parents to attain access to services can dramatically improve the quality of life for a child and their family. Utilizing action research can help parents share their experiences through digital storytelling, revealing a cycle of feeling heard, connected and motivated to leverage their stories to support their own access to important services at the local, state and federal level. As people share and connect their stories, the process may ultimately lead to action addressing important challenges and barriers expressed through the stories. We will share lessons learned and limitations in the “feeling heard, connected, motivated to action” cycle that was inspired by the initial phase of this project. This research is supported by the University of the Incarnate Word’s Graduate Studies Action Research Working Group in the Dreeben School of Education. It is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Social Security Administration’s ARDRAW Small Grant Program.

Kimberly S. Cox, MS, RN, NE-BC, currently serves as the Accredited Provider Unit (APU) director and the Registered Nurse (RN) Refresher Program coordinator and instructor at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio (UTHSA). In these roles, she leads the nursing continuing professional development program, ensuring quality educational activities for nurses’ and other health professionals’ lifelong learning and assisting RNs in returning to practice after career breaks. Prior to UTHSA, Cox retired as a Colonel after serving 30 years in the United States Air Force in various clinical and executive roles. Highlighted among those positions include the chief nursing executive at the 59th Medical Wing, where she was responsible for the supervision of nursing standards and practice of approximately 1,400 personnel contributing to the missions of healthcare, graduate medical education and clinical investigations. Additionally, she served as an Executive Nursing Fellow where she managed professional development initiatives for over 19,000 Air Force medics worldwide. Cox is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of the Incarnate Word. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

The session hosted by Cox, Jeff Neal and Michelle Vasquez is title "Storytelling for Social Justice: Helping Parents of Children with Disabilities Discover Services and Support through Action Research in San Antonio.” This session will focus on community-based participatory research approaches examining how parents of children with disabilities - specifically with autism spectrum disorder - gain access to federal programs, social services and support. Empowering these parents to attain access to services can dramatically improve the quality of life for a child and their family. Utilizing action research can help parents share their experiences through digital storytelling, revealing a cycle of feeling heard, connected and motivated to leverage their stories to support their own access to important services at the local, state and federal level. As people share and connect their stories, the process may ultimately lead to action addressing important challenges and barriers expressed through the stories. We will share lessons learned and limitations in the “feeling heard, connected, motivated to action” cycle that was inspired by the initial phase of this project. This research is supported by the University of the Incarnate Word’s Graduate Studies Action Research Working Group in the Dreeben School of Education. It is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Social Security Administration’s ARDRAW Small Grant Program.

Michelle C. Vasquez is a communications coordinator and Ph.D. student pursuing a concentration in Adult Education, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Dreeben School of Education at the University of the Incarnate Word. She has a Bachelor’s in Computer Graphic Arts and a master’s degree in Administration with a concentration in Communications. For over fifteen years, she worked as a web developer and digital communications professional in the higher education industry with expertise in strategic planning. Vasquez has facilitated professional development training courses on website management and digital storytelling. She received her digital storytelling facilitator certificate through StoryCenter to focus on educational and advocacy initiatives. She is currently leading an action research study using digital storytelling as an arts-based research method focused on learning how parents of children with disabilities gain access to federal programs, social services and support. Her research interests include disabilities, health equity, inclusion, social justice and advocacy.

Vasquez is a UIW board leader of the National Society of Leadership and Success, the largest collegiate honor society for academic achievement in the U.S. She is also a newly elected board member of Texas Parent to Parent, a nonprofit organization committed to improving the lives of Texas children who have disabilities, chronic illness and/or special healthcare needs. Vasquez is a grant recipient of the Social Security Administration’s Analyzing Relationships between Disability, Rehabilitation and Work (ARDRAW) Small Grant Program and a member of the Graduate Studies Department’s Action Research Initiative Working Group. She was selected to join the 2021-2022 Texas Partners in Policymaking cohort, an advanced leadership development training program for self-advocates and parents of children with developmental disabilities.

The session hosted by Vasquez, Jeff Neal and Kimberly Cox is title "Storytelling for Social Justice: Helping Parents of Children with Disabilities Discover Services and Support through Action Research in San Antonio.” This session will focus on community-based participatory research approaches examining how parents of children with disabilities - specifically with autism spectrum disorder - gain access to federal programs, social services and support. Empowering these parents to attain access to services can dramatically improve the quality of life for a child and their family. Utilizing action research can help parents share their experiences through digital storytelling, revealing a cycle of feeling heard, connected and motivated to leverage their stories to support their own access to important services at the local, state and federal level. As people share and connect their stories, the process may ultimately lead to action addressing important challenges and barriers expressed through the stories. We will share lessons learned and limitations in the “feeling heard, connected, motivated to action” cycle that was inspired by the initial phase of this project. This research is supported by the University of the Incarnate Word’s Graduate Studies Action Research Working Group in the Dreeben School of Education. It is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Social Security Administration’s ARDRAW Small Grant Program.

William Anthony is a DEI intern at the University of the Incarnate Word. William graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science where he was a student representative on the President’s Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. During his undergraduate career, Anthony spent two semesters studying abroad in Spain. He is currently pursuing a Master of Education with a concentration in Higher Education Student Services.

Deb Myers has called San Antonio home since 1984. She has been engaged in social justice ministry for over 30 years in a wide variety of organizations and programs. She worked with Anti-Violence Effort (AVE), an interfaith coalition through the San Antonio Archdiocese, to bridge communities and neighborhoods, and she served on the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission for 10 years. She has been active in Pax Christi both locally and nationally. Myers also served on the Mayor’s Commission for a More United San Antonio post 9/11. Her longest and most dedicated work has been with Dignity (LGBTQI Catholics and allies). She has served on the local, regional and national boards of the organization and has been one of the core animators of the local chapter for 35 years. She coordinates a network of GLBT friendly clergy, churches and lay people in San Antonio, called PRO (Progressive Religious Organization) San Antonio. Professionally, Myers is a physical therapist, working most of the week rehabilitating a diverse patient population at University Hospital; she spends the other part of her week as a clinician and clinical evaluator for people with ALS at UT Health. Her inspiration to be an activist comes from her partner of 35 years, Nickie Valdez. They were legally married in 2015. Valdez passed away December 25, 2020, after an eight-year battle with Multiple Myeloma. Myers is passionate about the environment and loves gardening and photography.

Members of the local Dignity Chapter will join the conversation, and they invite people to join them in prayer each Sunday.

The heroic story of Father Mychal Judge, killed as he helping at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, will be shared by Kevin Salfen, UIW Music Professor. He has created the Stations of Mychal, a series of songs. This gentle Franciscan priest was known for his ministry among the LGBTQ community and his association with the Dignity Chapter in NYC, as well as being chaplain for the fire department. Learn about the performance at UIW on Aug. 28 and get free tickets here. Read of the plans to perform this in New York at Fr. Mychal’s church (St. Francis of Assisi) on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Dr. Sharon Gubbay Helfer is a professional oral historian specializing in life stories and a researcher/practitioner in the area of difficult dialogues and listening skills. Following a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies focusing on Montreal’s Reconstructionist Synagogue (Concordia University, Montreal), she carried out postdoctoral research in Jewish-Catholic dialogue at the Université de Montréal. Gubbay Helfer then worked on the major Oral History Centre project “Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by Wars, Genocides and Other Human Rights Violations” (Concordia), where her work included creating a Palestinian Canadian Life Stories pilot project. Gubbay Helfer is a certified facilitator with the Compassionate Listening Project and with the Compassionate Integrity Training curriculum. She has offered Compassionate Listening workshops and Circles to participants in the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel.

In Gubbay Helfer’s session, "Seven rabbis from Montreal help us to support generosity at home," she discusses issues of “us” and “them.” Research shows that we tend to attribute much more homogeneity to “other” groups than we do to our own. We know what “they” are like: bigoted, inflexible, narrow-minded, insensitive, etc. whereas our side is more complex, more real.

Exploring the issue of “us” and “them” in a recent interview, journalist Krista Tippet encouraged us to focus first on the diversity and contradictions that we know exist in our own intimate circles. She suggests that acknowledging our own complexity may help us to be aware that the “others” are equally diverse and nuanced.

Oral historian Gubbay Helfer helps us explore Krista Tippet’s suggestion with the help of a set of life story interviews she carried out recently in her hometown of Montreal. In this workshop, we will begin by viewing clips from the life stories of seven rabbis, with widely divergent practices and lifestyles. This will highlight the diversity that exists beneath the label “rabbi.”

Through individual journaling and small and large-group interactions, we will be invited to reflect on the diversity within whichever group we consider to be “us,” and to share our findings. The long-term goal is to support generosity in our understanding of and approach to people outside our own group.

Lorena P. Cestou is pursuing her Ph.D. in Adult Education, Social Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at the University of the Incarnate Word. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (EC-6) and her master’s degree in Bilingual Education at Texas A&M International University. She is the current graduate research assistant for the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability and serves as a board member for the Texas chapter of the National Association of Multicultural Education.

Prior to the pandemic, Cestou was the coordinator for Discovery Gateway, an intercultural, intergenerational and biliterate learning center at the border of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. At Discovery Gateway, community partnerships embraced diversity to form a learning space that promoted social justice via education, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, community-building and culture. She is a firm believer that teaching for change can be established by the intersection of literacy skills, socialization and cultural awareness.

Cestou and Priscilla Salazar host a joint session titled “Stories of Transformation in Student's Service Learning Experiences and Clips and Captions.” While service learning is an excellent way to provide students with authentic, experiential learning experiences, there are often questions on how these experiences can be assessed to evaluate student learning. In this session Lorena P. Cestou and Priscilla A. Salazar will share their own SL experiences and how these changed their lives. Additionally, presenters will share how “Clips and Captions” was used to analyze their own service-learning opportunities.

Priscilla A. Salazar is pursuing her Ph.D. in Adult Education, Social Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at the University of the Incarnate Word. She received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Science and Disorder at Texas A&M International University and a master’s degree in Deaf Education and Hearing Science from the University of Texas Health Science Center. She is currently a deaf education Teacher in Sugar Land, Texas, and a graduate research assistant for the Dreeben School of Education at the University of the Incarnate Word.

Salazar and Lorena Cestou host a joint session titled “Stories of Transformation in Student's Service Learning Experiences and Clips and Captions.” While service learning is an excellent way to provide students with authentic, experiential learning experiences, there are often questions on how these experiences can be assessed to evaluate student learning. In this session Lorena P. Cestou and Priscilla A. Salazar will share their own SL experiences and how these changed their lives. Additionally, presenters will share how “Clips and Captions” was used to analyze their own service-learning opportunities.

Christina M. Perez is a Director of Innovation Health Programs at Community Family Medicine, P.A., in San Antonio. She graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word with a Bachelor's in Science in 2007 and a Master's in Health Administration in 2017. She is currently in the Ph.D. Organizational Leadership program at UIW. Her previous employments include UT Health Science Center of San Antonio, where she worked in the Immunology Department on HIV1. At Tenet Healthcare, known as Baptist in San Antonio, Perez worked with over 300 primary care physicians reporting to federal government quality of care programs and private entities. She is still affiliated with Tenet through their accountable care organization (ACO), which disperses $38 million of incentives to local San Antonio physicians based on the quality of care. Her speaking engagements include PCMH Congress, Texas Primary Care, and the Home Health Summit to educate the healthcare industry on federally mandated quality outcome updates. She has publications in the Journal of Health Science and Health Tech Magazine on healthcare topics. Perez and her husband have two sons (ages 17 and 6) and a daughter (age 5). Perez is also an active contributor at St. Luke Catholic Church and BASIS Northcentral primary school.

Perez hosts a session titled “Remembering Loved Ones Through Stories: Compassion and Coincidence, a Tribute to Dr. Edward Gonzalez.” Due to COVID-19 and the amount of loss we have seen, we have become desensitized. Two scientists, Deborah Small and Paul Slovic, have coined a term for the idea that when tragedy strikes large numbers of people, we become desensitized. They call it “the collapse of the compassion.” We have to remind ourselves of ways to be compassionate without being overwhelmed. An article by Gouty (2020) says we must acknowledge our own feelings, do something to help, balance our intake of news with the other aspects of our lives, and practice gratitude. One missing component that will be added is the storytelling of past loved ones. Compassion can be an emotional response to sympathy and creates a desire to help. We may not know what to do to help, but we can never forget a loved one by storytelling. This PhotoVoice story of compassion and coincidence brings the memory of our very own Dr. Edward Gonzalez, past faculty at the University of the Incarnate Word, Chemistry Department.

Cynthia Phelps, PhD, is a researcher, international speaker, coach, certified mindfulness instructor and the Founder of InnerAlly, a company that builds evidence-based tools to improve resilience and wellbeing. She teaches about the power of having a kind and compassionate inner voice, and guides people to explore their own emotional landscape to create customized inner support language. Phelps has 25 years of experience in digital interactive design and has been developing technologies from online classes to mobile apps to help people learn and change their behavior. You can join her and others in practicing self-compassion here or email Cynthia@InnerAlly.com.

With the pandemic, we have all been through a collective trauma. As we embark on the uncertain path of emergence, we can consider what we want our re-emergence to look like. Your mindset and internal stories make a great deal of difference in how you experience the world. We will dive into your existing stories about emerging and create personalized self-compassionate inner language that will nurture how you want to be and feel in the future. This wholehearted workshop will guide you with tools and techniques to be your own ally, answering the question: How can we go back into the world with grace and compassion?

Amy Migura is a doctoral candidate in Higher Education at the University of the Incarnate Word. She obtained her master’s degree in Education from UIW and a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M University. A believer in life-long learning and the transformative power of education, she currently teaches Language Arts to middle school students at Holy Spirit Catholic School in San Antonio.

Her presentation, "InnerAlly - Emerging from the Pandemic as Your Own Ally," begins with an idea from Mother Teresa: “Not all of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with great love.” It uses stories of compassion to explore the ways in which people are motivated to act.

Join us Wednesday evening. This film is a 12-minute preview of "Creative and Compassionate Murals Invite San Antonio Citizens." Learn how the San Anto Cultural Arts Center has united people to tell challenging stories, calling people to create a better future. San Antonio has had the highest percentage of people living in poverty among the 25 largest cities in the United States and it has been one of the most economically segregated cities. Sister Martha Ann Kirk explains and notes local realities in a context of USA information in the Social Progress Index. This index, inspired by research of Nobel-winning economists, measures quality of life in a country. The index collects 50 metrics of wellbeing – health, nutrition, education, the environment, safety, freedom and more. The 2020 Index includes 163 countries.