September 24, 2011
I am a psychologist living in western Colorado with my Salvadoran wife (also a psychologist), and my 17 year old daughter. I'm also a graduate student in journalism and an independent filmmaker. I recently completed an 80 minute social documentary called "Bajo Lempa: Together in Peace." The main theme of the documentary is post-traumatic renewal -- the transformation of social tragedy and family loss -- to community initiative and optimism. It is based on the inspiring story of a group of Salvadoran peasants, forced to flee their country during the 12 year civil war, who later return to new land along the coast to establish a self-declared “local zone of peace,” guided by participatory design, nonviolence, and environmental sustainability. The most active participants in their grassroots organization are women. At the moment I am trying to complete my masters thesis on the links between social research on charitable giving to distant victims, and models of mass media communication that advocate for children in life-threatening circumstances, particularly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.