After five years on the road with MAESTRA we are starting our next film project, CRUZADA, which explores Nicaragua’s 1980 Literacy Campaign. 

Literacy is a fundamental social justice and human rights issue, essential for a healthy society and a fully functioning democracy. By documenting these moments of possibility, we hope to inspire and inform current struggles for justice.

CRUZADA: Nicaragua's
Literacy Campaign

Our new film project, CRUZADA, about Nicaragua’s 1980 Literacy Campaign, is in full production mode. Our team is currently in León, Diriamba and Managua interviewing former teachers and students from the campaign. Producer Shaya Christensen and director Catherine Murphy are working with our Nicaragua team: producer Kathy Sevilla, DP Alejandro Martinez and sound engineer Jose Luis Bravo.

We are recording amazing stories, such as that of Don Julio Ortiz who started a small mobile museum dedicated to his time as a literacy teacher. He hopes to one day open a public museum in Diriamba and currently dedicates much of his time to speaking at schools to pass this important history on to younger generations.

Follow our unfolding story on the CRUZADA Facebook page.

Our crew in action!! Top: Interviewing Sara Henriquez in Lechecuago where she taught literacy in 1980. Middle: Ligia Eugenia learned how to read and write in 1980 and is now an educator at her local school in Posoltega, Nicaragua Bottom: Marta Alicia was a literacy volunteer in 1980 when she was 15 years old. She is here with two of her students, Maria Justina Mejía and Miguel Angel Olivas.

MAESTRA Goes Multi-Lingual!

MAESTRA is being translated into Haitian Creole to be used by the Haitian Teacher’s Union. We also just finished a Portuguese translation by Fernando Daflon and look forward to collaborating with community organizations in Brazil.

MAESTRA Archives at UNC-Chapel Hill

The MAESTRA project extends far beyond just the film. We have been supporting continued research on the 1961 Literacy Campaign by opening our archives to students. Thanks to one of these students, PhD candidate Ann Halbert-Brooks, along with Dr. Louis Perez, Latin American Librarian Dr. Teresa Chapa, and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Libraries, our MAESTRA archives will now be preserved and available to researchers and activists from now into the future. Stay tuned for announcements about our September archive launch!

Cuban Poet Nancy Morejón
Honored at Literary Festivals
in MD and NYC

In May, Nancy Morejón, the most widely translated Cuban woman poet of the post-revolutionary period, visited the DC-metro area and NYC.

Morejón was honored as the Literary Artist in Residence at the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council (PGAHC) 2017 Festival of Literacy Arts. Catherine moderated the opening night discussion with Nancy along with Rhonda Dallas of PGAHC and the Cuban rap group Obsession.  Nancy and Catherine also participated in a screenwriting panel by Creative Edge Collaborative, a PG County nonprofit for filmmakers.

Nancy also participated in the “Unapologetically Afro-Latina” panel at the Apollo Theater in New York alongside Dr. Marta Moreno Vega and Magdalena Albizu. The event was presented with the Apollo Women of the World Festival and the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.

Morejón was one of the first Afro-Cuban women to earn a degree in the Faculty of Arts at Havana University. She has published widely and is a celebrated writer, critic, and translator. The award-winning Cuban lead poet symbolizes the beauty of prose, breaking barriers, artistic sisterhood, and the potential of achieving creative greatness.


Maestra is now available for Vimeo on Demand online streaming for $5.99 through Women Make Movies.
It is also now available for the at-home DVD price of $19.95.
We’re thrilled that our story is increasingly accessible. Buy here.

We are raising funds to continue  distributing Maestra and to expand The Literacy Project’s work in documenting the role of literacy in social justice movements across the Americas. Follow us on social media, share with your friends, and please consider making a donation to support our work.
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