Friday, February 24th
in the Sophia Room
from 12:15pm to 1:15pm
Director Carolina Fuentes will be present for discussion and questions
Our Right to Sing explores the role of music in the resistance movement of El Salvador during two decades of military dictatorship
Carolina Fuentes holds a Masters Degree in Social Documentation from The University of California, Santa Cruz and is an award-winning radio and television journalist spanning a lengthy career with PBS Radio Billingue and Univision. She is twice winner of the Golden Apple Media Award, granted by the California School Boards Foundation; and Emmy nominated for her investigative report exposing the abuses against undocumented immigrants at an INS facility in Harlingen, Texas. In a collective award to journalists for the national news coverage of September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, Carolina was recognized for her reporting contributions, by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Her most recent work is the documentary film titled, Our Right To Sing. The project examines the role of music in the resistance movement of El Salvador during two decades of military dictatorship. Fueled by her research at the University of California, Santa Cruz, , the documentary project has won a prestigious fellowship from the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently being screened internationally.
Fuentes’ thesis documentary project, Our Right to Sing, is the first of its kind. Until now, there has not been a film on the musical byproduct of this collective experience – something Fuentes witnessed first-hand as member of a musical group inspired by the principles of Liberation Theology and with the arson of the San Jose Catholic Church, where she was parishioner. After the assassination of friends and classmates – Fuentes fled from her native El Salvador to Mexico where she lived seven years and completed her Bachelors Degree in Social Psychology at The University of Queretaro.
Before her immigration to the US in 1989, she worked in Mexico City with Central American refugee children and families fleeing the horrors of war in their home countries. For the last seventeen years living in the U.S., Fuentes has continued to champion social change through her feature stories and now her feature documentary. At present, she is screening her latest work on the protest music of El Salvador, hoping to join with the efforts of human rights activists, in constructing a historical memory of the civil war in El Salvador.
“The San Jose church in El Salvador was one of the first Christian base
communities where from the inception of the theology of Liberation, young people
began to reflect upon our social reality. I was one of the singers in our musical group
called, “El Sembrador”. These were the seventies and my country was living under
a military dictatorship. In 1975 a provoked fire destroyed our church and although
the flames devoured our instruments, our voices were not extinguished.
“Our Right to Sing”, has taken me back to my country to collect the stories
of the young people from the 1970’s who denounced injustice by creating music,
poetry, and popular theatre. These individuals became the collective voice the
dictatorship could not silence. With the fellowship granted by the Berkeley Human
Rights center I have documented the role of music in constructing a historical
memory of the civil war, which killed more than 70 thousand Salvadorans. The film
explores the power of music in constructing a collective memory. Musicians tell us
how during two decades of military dictatorship terror and during the post war they
have defended their right to create popular art as a powerful voice in the struggle
for social justice.”
- C. Fuentes