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Sister Dianna Ortiz : Author & Torture Survivor

by Ileana Landon Thursday, Oct. 24, 2002 at 4:42 PM
ileana@landonagency.com RSVP: 310.815.0450

The Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture and Amnesty International announced today that Human Rights Activist Sister Dianna Ortiz will hold a symposium at The Latino Museum to discuss her new memoir The Blindfolds Eyes: My journey from Torture to Truth on Monday, October 28th, 2002 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM.


The Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture
Amnesty International Host Human Rights Activist

Sister Dianna Ortiz: Her Kidnapping and Torture in Guatemala

Sister Dianna Ortiz will discuss excerpts from her new book, "The Blindfolds Eyes: My journey from Torture to Truth"

(Los Angeles, CA October 22, 2002) ----- The Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture and Amnesty International announced today that Human Rights Activist Sister Dianna Ortiz will hold a symposium at The Latino Museum to discuss her new memoir The Blindfolds Eyes: My journey from Torture to Truth on Monday, October 28th, 2002 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM.

Sister Ortiz memoir is an unforgettable portrait of the physical, psychological, and spiritual ordeal she endured. In early November of 1989 Guatemalan security forces kidnapped Sister Ortiz, an American nun, and brutally raped and tortured her. In The Blindfolds Eyes, written with Patricia Davis, Ortiz recounts her ordeal, her struggle to heal herself, and her attempts to uncover the truth about her abductors.

At this symposium Sister Ortiz will recount the contents of her book; she will answer questions from attendees and respond to the media. She will also autograph books for the public. Sister Dianna Ortiz will be introduced by Ingrid Oliu, one of the stars of the critically acclaimed HBO film , REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES. Ms. Oliu, who is of Nicaraguan decent, has also starred in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, STOP AT NOTHING, FLATLINERS, STAND AND DELIVER and AMERICAN DRIVE-IN.

President of The Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture, Juan Gomez-Quinones says, "Her story is a tragic one but is also one of hope and courage. Board members believe that it is important for people to be informed about such tragedies so that we can prevent them in the future. "We are honored to host her symposium and book signing," adds Gomez-Quinones.

Sister Dianna Ortiz remembers her torture vividly, but the experience dimmed aspects of her life before that trauma. "Now and then, as I heal, random memories return," she says. "Those glimpses are all I have of my childhood, my studies at the convent and my early years as a teacher in Kentucky." When her torturers were finished with her, she only knew herself as a woman who had been ganged raped, brutalized and forced to endure the torture of other human beings. By talking to her family, friends, members of her religious order, and others who knew her, and through letters and other documents, she has managed to reconstruct a picture of the Dianna she was before the brutality began.

Sister Ortiz, daughter to a minister, grew up in a close-knit family in New Mexico, a devoted child who knew by the age of six that she wanted to be a nun. She joined the Ursuline order at their convent in Maple Mount in Kentucky. She was known for her passion for justice, love of working with children, and desire to help the poor. As a kindergarten teacher, she earned the nickname "the radical teacher" for having her students write letters on human rights issues to President Reagan. In 1987, Sister Ortiz went to the western highlands of Guatemala to teach Mayan children to read and write.

Thirteen years ago on November 2, 1989 she was kidnapped by security forces and brutally tortured. Hers is a testimony to the human spirit to be shared by activists in behalf of human rights, particularly women committed to social justice.

Today Sister Dianna Ortiz continues to be a human rights activist and advocate for victims of torture. She is co-founder and director of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC). Among many honors, she has received the Pax Christi National Peacemaker Award, the Annual Human Rights Award of the Office of the Americas, and a fellowship from Ashoka Innovators for the Public.

Patricia Davis is a writer and human rights activist who has worked as communications director at the Guatemala Human Rights commission. A graduate of Carleton College and a Masters of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at American University. Ms Davis has published articles and poetry in national magazines.

The Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture is located in the Los Angeles City Mall where it serves the greater Los Angeles and the Latino communities through its exhibitions of globally recognized Latino art and educational programs. As an American cultural institution and non-profit organization, the Museums main focus is to present and advance Latino heritages. The Museums Education Program provides a historically compelling academic analysis of Latino contributions to the United States throughout the public school system in Los Angeles County. The Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture is located at 201 North Los Angeles Street. The phone number is (213) 626-7600. Currently, The Museum is currently exhibiting over 60 pieces of Chicano Master Ramses Noriegas work. Hours for the exhibits are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission for The Latino Museum is free. For further information, please visit the official Museum website at www.thelatinomuseum.org .
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