MCALLEN, RGV – Sister Norma Pimentel, director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, is to speak today at the International Latin American Poetry Festival.

Pimentel spearheaded local humanitarian efforts to help more than 40,000 refugees from Central America who have crossed the Rio Grande into South Texas over the past three years. According to Border Patrol, the number of immigrants crossing the River is increasing again.

Pimentel will be among three panelists who will share their experiences of the refugee crisis on a panel titled “Unaccompanied.” The other panelists are The other panelists are Oliver Contreras and Rachel Gittenger. The presenter will be Monica Raygada. The panelists will talk about challenges and provide possible solutions to the refugee crisis.

The three-day inaugural International Latin American Poetry Festival started on Thursday and concludes on Saturday. It is taking place at the Cooper Center at South Texas College in McAllen. Pimentel is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2.

More than 35 poets from the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, Chile and other Latin American countries will participate in the poetry festival. Among these will be the United States Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, the first Latino poet chosen by the Library of Congress.

Other featured poets include Saul Ibargoyen from Uruguay, Antonieta Villamil from Colombia, Julian Herbert from Mexico, Armando Alanis Pulido from Mexico, Lucha Corpi from the United States and Mayra Santos-Febres from Puerto Rico.

For additional information contact Monica Raygada, executive director of the festival. Her email address is: [email protected]. Her phone number is: (956) 330-7203. The website address is: