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University of Iowa News Release

Release: April 25, 2003

UICHR Co-Sponsors Second Screening Of Discovering Dominga April 29

Due to popular demand, "Discovering Dominga: Survivor of the Rio Negro Massacre in Guatemala" is being screened for a second time by The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) Tuesday, April 29 at 5 p.m. in the Illinois Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. The screening is hosted by the Bijou. Chivy Sok, deputy director, UICHR and project director, Child Labor Research Initiative, will make opening remarks. The event is free and open to the public.

The documentary was earlier screened at the same location.

"We had such an incredible turnout that we couldn't accommodate the audience," Sok said. "We wanted to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to view this important video since so many people were interested in understanding more about this tragic chapter in history."

"Discovering Dominga" chronicles the extraordinary journey of a young Iowa housewife who discovers she is a survivor of one of the most horrific massacres in Guatemalan history, committed in 1982 against Maya Indian villagers who resisted a dam project funded by the World Bank. The film follows her emotional odyssey of self-discovery and political awakening as she travels from the cornfields of her adoptive Iowa to the Maya highlands of Guatemala in search of her past.

Dominga Sic Ruiz was nine years old when, in the midst of a bloody civil war, soldiers and paramilitary squads murdered her parents and other Maya villagers. She escaped with her baby sister, who later died. Dominga was brought to an orphanage and adopted by a Baptist minister and his wife in Iowa. Some 18 years later Denese, as she started calling herself, went back to the massacre site where her parents were brutally murdered. She decided to join other community survivors in a dangerous effort to bring genocide charges against the generals who ordered the massacres in which some 200,000 civilians in Guatemala. She became the voice against suppression and her mission was now to speak out against the tragic events in her native land.

"The massacre in Guatemala should never be forgotten from history. Dominga's courageous return to her native Mayan village and her commitment to find justice demonstrates that one person can make a positive difference in this chaotic world," said Sok.

This documentary will be disseminated nationwide through PBS this summer.

The screening is presented by UICHR, The Bijou, Institute for the Support of Latino Families and Communities and UI International Programs in collaboration with 14 other institutions, including the following: Catholic Campaign for Human Development; the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC); COE Division of Curriculum and Instruction; COE Language, Literacy and Culture Program; Commission of Latino Affairs of Iowa Department of Human Rights; Coralville Public Library; Iowa City Foreign Relations Council; Iowa City Human Rights Commission; Iowa City Public Library; Iowa United Nations Association; International and Comparative Law Program; National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice; UI Charter for Human Rights; and UI department of rhetoric.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability and require accommodations in order to participate, please contact Patricia Pollock at (319) 335-3900.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026, lois-gray@uiowa.edu. Program: Writer: Mansi Bhatia