Crossroad Talks

Monday, February 24th, 2020.9am-12noon at Camille Playhouse, Brownsville, TX

Crossroads Talks: a Bi-National Conversation aims to foster the conversation on border-related issues and celebrate the bicultural identity of our region. Think TED-style, 15-minute presentations featuring a variety of speakers with ties to the Rio Grande Valley

Sister Norma Pimentel

Born and raised in Brownsville, Texas, Sister Norma joined the Missionaries of Jesus when she was 22 years old.

As executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, she has led the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, providing oversight of the different ministries and programs in the areas of emergency assistance, housing assistance, counseling and pregnancy care to all four counties in the Rio Grande Valley. In the summer of 2014, she led the humanitarian response to the immigration crisis.
Before overseeing Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, sister Norma helped direct Casa Oscar Romero, a refugee shelter in San Benito and later Brownsville for Central Americans fleeing war-torn countries in the 1980s. The shelter provided emergency relief and temporary housing for hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Sister Norma received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas; a master’s degree in theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas; a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Loyola University in Chicago, IL; and an honorary PhD in humane letters from Holy Family University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. William Strong

What started in Brownsville changed the world” (the life of William Gorgas)

You might call W.F. Strong a student of all things Texas. In 2010, he began sharing his Stories From Texas vignettes on NPR stations, most recently on the Texas Standard’s

network of 30 stations.

For this book celebrating his home state, Strong has collected 75 of his broadcasts. You’ll hear his inimitably Texan voice in your mind’s ear as he weaves stories on subjects ranging from how to talk Texan to Texas bards and troubadours; from tall Texas tales to Lone Star icons like Charles Goodnight, Tom Landry and Blue Bell ice cream; from legends and heroes of the past to some heartfelt memories of his own.

W.F. Strong is a Professor of Communication and Culture and a Fulbright Scholar

at The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley.  He also writes, occasionally, for Texas Highways Magazine.

Dr. Edith Treviño

Education & Immigration

Dr. Edith Treviño, also known as “Dr ET” is a storyteller, collector of stories, author, advocate of language, wife, mother, and educator who lives and teaches in La Frontera. Dr. ET is an immigrant from Coahuila Mexico, and as a resident alien served in the United States Army Reserves after completing high school.

Currently a bilingual and ESL specialist for Region One in Edinburg, much of her days are spent empowering 37 districts, universities, and charter schools in sheltered instruction, technology, and innovation for ESL teachers. Dr. ET is co-author to “The Death of My Mexican Name’ published by Rethinking Bilingual Education. Dr. ET’s research is focused on Teacher perceptions of Mexican Immigrant students’ lived experience with border violence on the Texas-Mexico Border. 

ET holds a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Bilingual Studies from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, a master’s degree from Sul Ross State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Edinboro University pennsylvania. You can follow Dr. ET on Twitter @DrETonTheBorder

Michael Seifert


Michael Seifert has been a resident of the Rio Grande Valley for the

past thirty years.

As a Catholic priest, he worked in Colonia communities from

La Joya to Cameron Park. He later served as the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice

Network Weaver.

He lives safely and happily in West Brownsville, one-quarter

mile from the southern border. Currently, he serves as Border Advocacy

Strategist for ACLU of Texas.

Mike Benavides

Team Brownsville

Mike Benavides is co-founder of Team Brownsville, a nonprofit organization that provides 2 meals a day for 2,000 asylum seekers in Matamoros.

Louis Dartez

Stargate and Expanding Frontiers

Louis P. Dartez is a Ph.D. candidate in Physics working with UTRGV’s Center for Advanced Radio Astronomy and STARGATE. 

Louis’ work consists of developing and deploying digital back-end systems for UTRGV’s Low Frequency All Sky Monitor, a distributed phased array radio telescope searching for low frequency radio bursts.

Recently, Louis has been focusing on helping build a commercial space development ecosystem in Brownsville as a founding member of Expanding Frontiers. 

DR. Gabriel Gonzalez Nunez

Fully embracing bilingualism is the way forward

Dr. Gabriel González Núñez is the Director of UTRGV’s Translation and Interpreting

Programs. He is a college professor, and he has also worked as a lawyer,

translator, interpreter, language teacher, and sports broadcaster. He is the

author of a poetry collection and three children’s books. Born in Montevideo,

Uruguay, he has moved across language and cultures many times during his


Josh Mejia

Investing in the Human Capital of Your Community

Josh Mejia is the Executive Director for the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC, the Type B Economic Development Organization for the City of Brownsville.  

The BCIC believes in collaborating & developing relationships to promote economic development projects to improve the quality of life for our community. The initiatives, endeavors, programs, and incentives from BCIC revolve around the human capital that’s within the community of Brownsville

Dr. Mark Kaswan

Building Community Wealth: Addressing the Silver Tsunami and the Downtown Food Desert

Mark Kaswan works at the intersection of political theory and social change,

working to expand our understandings of politics and of democracy and to find ways to make democracy meaningful for people in their daily lives. His research has mostly been oriented toward the cooperative movement and worker ownership, bridging abstract ideas about democracy, happiness, and politics with political economics and ideas about the structure of social institutions — particularly the place where we spend so much of our waking hours, the workplace. His work crosses boundaries, drawing from political theory, sociology, philosophy, economics, public policy, feminism, history, business and management studies, organizational theory, and race and ethnic studies.


Dr. Kaswan received his Ph.D. in political science from UCLA in 2010 and has been at UTRGV (formerly UT Brownsville) since 2011. He also holds a J. Robert Beyster, Michael W. Huber, and Kellogg Foundation fellowships from the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations. In addition to his work as a faculty member at UTRGV, he is Academic Affairs Faculty Fellow for Strategic Initiatives, overseeing the implementation of the UTRGV strategic plan. In his spare time, he is active with the local organization Frontera Progressives.

Craig Grove

Community building through positive use of social media

Craig Grove is the founder of Brownsville Living and RGV Living, social media pages that spread awareness on events and positive news happening in our region. An independent real estate broker, Craig has been voted best Realtor and broker in Brownsville by Brownsville Herald readers 3

times. Craig hosts a show called #BrownsvilleLive which features local leaders. Craig is an Alderman in Rancho Viejo, TX.

Daniella Lopez Valdez

The dangers of ocean plastic and how the community can help

Daniella is a Brownsville native, who is passionate about educating the world about the environment. She moved to Dallas at age 18 to attend Southern Methodist University. After graduating with a double major in Marketing and Economic Sociology and a minor in Fashion Media,

she pursued leadership roles in the corporate retail world. After 10 years in Dallas, her husband and she returned to the city they both loved.

Daniella started her own Consulting Marketing business. Along with other Brownsville natives, Daniella is creating a company that vows to pick up 2.2 pounds of plastic from the Gulf of Mexico for every bracelet they sell. With this endeavor they aim to help the environment as well as micro-economies in both the US and Mexico.



Daily Pass allows ticket holders to access all tracts of the Crossroads Festival for the specific day purchased.



3-Day General Admission Pass allows ticket holders to access all 5 tracts of the Crossroads Festival.



VIP Pass allows ticket holders to access all 5 tracts of the Crossroads Festival as well exclusive multi course dinners, meet and greets with musicians, and much more!