Pulitzer Prize-winner to visit JCU

October 1st, 2009

John Carroll University will welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Sonia Nazario, to campus at 7 p.m. on Oct. 8. Nazario will be speaking in Donahue Auditorium.  Nazario has reported on a wide range of issues such as drug addiction, hunger and immigration.

She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for her report on children with drug-addicted parents. In 2003, Nazario won the Pulitzer for her newspaper series in the Los Angeles Times entitled “Enrique’s Journey.” “Enrique’s Journey” chronicles one young immigrant on his harrowing trip from Honduras to the United States.

This summer the incoming freshmen read the book, “Enrique’s Journey” for First Year Seminar because of its emphasis on social justice and relevance to today’s society.

Freshman Brendan Hancock said, “A particular part that really affected me is how much the [migrants] are willing to go through to reach America and their families.”

These travels were the focus of Nazario’s research. Nazario writes that one of Enrique’s biggest worries were the “madrinas” – essentially undercover civilians who would help Mexican immigration authorities catch the migrants on the train. Some say that the “madrinas” commit the worst crimes, such as torture and rape, but receive a cut from authorities pay because of their help in detaining migrants.

“We must look at the push and pull factors that motivate people to leave their homes and come to America,” said Peter Kvidera a first year seminar professor.

Many people come to America to make more money, to pursue greater political freedom, to join family or simply for what they believe to be a better life.

“When I read about the hospital in Mexico that treats migrants coming off the trains and the injuries they had, it was one aspect of coming to America that I hadn’t thought of before,” said freshman Katherine Spillman. “The stories of some of the patients were really graphic, especially when one went to the hospital with both legs and ankles broken.”

As of 2008, there were approximately 11.9 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, according to USA Today.

“I hope her [Nazario’s] speech will include some discussion about where Enrique and his family are now. Hearing someone speak is often a lot more moving than just reading it,” said freshman Ross Bernard.

Nazario won many other awards for “Enrique’s Journey” including, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Overall Excellence, the George Polk Award for International Reporting and the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. Adding to Nazario’s accomplishments, “Enrique’s Journey” is currently in the process of being turned into a miniseries for HBO.