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Conference on Puerto Rico, Nov. 30-Dec. 1

Rev. Jesse Jackson will give the opening keynote address at a conference on Puerto Rico Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, on the Princeton campus.

Scholars, activists and students will participate in the conference, which is titled "Puerto Ricans: Second Class Citizens in 'Our' Democracy?" Sessions will take place from 11:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in Bowen and McCosh halls. The conference is free and open to the public.

Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, will speak at 11:45 a.m. Friday in McCosh 50. He is expected to discuss his efforts on behalf of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Jackson has protested U.S. military bombing exercises there.

The conference is being organized by an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate and graduate students from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the departments of Spanish, Portuguese, sociology and history as well as the Princeton Theological Seminary.

The organizers of the conference want to initiate a dialogue among intellectuals, students, professionals and activists about what it means to be Puerto Rican in this millennium. They hope to explore such issues as how people in the commonwealth culturally identify with Latin America but have U.S. citizenship; enjoy the "privileges" of American democracy and welfare benefits but at the cost of facing discrimination; and are forced to sacrifice a portion of their national territory to bombing by the U.S. Navy.

The conference will feature roundtable discussions on four topics: migration and citizenship; education and citizenship; law and citizenship; and Vieques. Participants will include: the Rev. Wilfredo Estrada, secretary general of the Bible Society of Puerto Rico; Juan Flores, professor of black and Puerto Rican studies at the City University of New York; Efrin Rivera Ramos, dean of the University of Puerto Rico Law School; Marcia Rivera, a distinguished Puerto Rican sociologist; and Sonia Sotomayor, a 1976 Princeton graduate who is a U.S. Court of Appeals judge.

The conference is sponsored by the Program in Latin American Studies and supported by a number of other University offices and departments. For more information, click here .

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

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