Contact: Beverly Singer, 277-3027
Michael Padilla, 277-1816

August 28, 2001

Ortiz Center receives grant to create documentary about homelessness in Albuquerque

The Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies at the University of New Mexico has received a $3,000 grant from the Albuquerque Community Foundation to create a feature length documentary about Albuquerque's homelessness.

Beverly Singer, director of the center, said the documentary, “Waking Up On Central,” will be used as a dialogue tool in Albuquerque and on campus that seeks to examine the transient world of homelessness in Albuquerque. Paul Smyth, director of the New Mexico Chapter of National AIDS Brigade, is co-producer of the documentary.

“Many of the youth that we are working with are from the “war zone” (in Albuquerque) and they feel a need to speak about ways to prevent falling trap to what a certain segment of Central represents,” Singer said. “This project brings conscience to many of the social questions concerning this part of Central.”

Fourteen individuals from the AIDS Brigade will be given training in ethnographic video production skills who will then create their own five-minute piece to be incorporated into the production. In addition, the youth will kick off the project and will be presenting their AIDS awareness work publicly at the Maxwell Museum on Thursday, Sept. 13 from 7-9 p.m. The event will feature music, poetry, and straight talk about AIDS.

Singer said that “Waking Up On Central” will document, comment and help stir community efforts by focusing attention upon and on east Central. “This area of Central is characterized by seedy residential motels, drug dealing, prostitution and transients. Alienated diverse cultural people have washed up on Central where they are drunk, hung-over and emptied of their humanity.”

Singer said the collaboration between UNM and the AIDS Brigade integrates two types of community resources to create a formal alliance and outlet for discussions about AIDS and community awareness that do not yet exist in Albuquerque.

The AIDS Brigade began in 1983 and focuses its resources on the prevention and education of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. It is committed to working in the community to develop peer education programs, media workshops, and direct outreach services to teenagers, drug users, veterans, and other people exposed to or living with HIV/AIDS.

Singer said she has applied for a grant from PACT (Partnerships Affirming Community Transformation) grant from the Rockefeller Founation for the project.


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