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Las Cruces Women’s Rally to feature NMSU professor as keynote speaker

Gender inequality, laws and policies that govern an unequal living experience are among the topics Dulcinea Lara, associate professor of criminal justice at New Mexico State University, will address as the keynote speaker of the 2019 Las Cruces Women’s Rally.


Women’s march demonstrators
A group of demonstrators assemble during 2017’s Las Cruces Women's March. This year's march will take place on January 19. (Courtesy photo by Patti Wojahn)

This year’s rally is the third since 2017 when the gathering drew more than 1,500 people, the second largest at any event in Las Cruces history. The event will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Albert Johnson Park, 501 N. Main St.

Lara will share personal parts of her life, stories about a woman she calls her “she-ro,” her grandmother Maria. She will also address the larger issues impacting women’s lives and how the greater community can join together to change these outdated systems.

“I'll talk about how ‘reasonable’ reactions to inequality should not be interpreted as ‘radical,’” said Lara, who is also the director of ethnic studies in criminal justice. “Instead, people who believe in the functionality of a democracy must begin the long, collective work of undoing oppressive systems implemented and maintained to control populations made vulnerable through subtle and overt policies, laws, and behaviors. This is ‘reasonable’ work.”

NMSU’s Gender and Sexuality Program, the Las Cruces Coalition for Reproductive Justice and the NAACP of Dona Ana County are sponsoring the rally. In addition to the keynote address, Rep. Joanna Ferrary will also give a legislative prospectus during the event’s main program.

Rally organizer Eileen VanWie, a retired NMSU professor, describes the rally as an opportunity for demonstrators to show their support when it comes to issues of gender inequality in access to education, health care, childcare, and housing. The rally will also focus on issues of sexual harassment and discrimination, with an aim toward reduction and elimination of such forms of mistreatment.

“Recent events sponsored at NMSU have inspired me to continue to support family issues and advocate for women in leadership positions,” VanWie said. “The rally can inspire us all to learn more about what is being done to support women as leaders across New Mexico and beyond.”

Rally attendees are encouraged to bring signs and banners for using during the event. Those who would prefer to create their own signs during the demonstration are free to do so. Participants are also urged to bring chairs and water.

Organizations interested in sharing information with participants are invited to set up tables during the event. Contact Jan Thompson at janthompson0817@gmail.com to register for a table.

For other questions about the rally, or more information, contact Cassandra Calway at mawcass5@yahoo.com.