Soka University Community Cinema had a successful turn out for our screening of
The Graduates/Los Graduados
|Valley High School Students and Faculty from Santa Ana, CA|
|Professor James Spady facilitating discussion after the film|
Fulfilling Community Needs
This was intended for the younger audience, the low income Latinos in Orange County. We had 50 high school students from Santa Ana come out and participate. We also had 2 guest panelists with CSU degrees who grew up in a low-income, latina family whose parents were illegal immigrants from Mexico so this dynamic helped with the discussion after the screening. We had about 20 Univeristy students, and about 10 more faculty and/or community members in attendence.
The Power of Why
Our approach was to have the guest panelists facilitate a discussion among the students and community members that would bring awareness about Latinos and Latino culture in America... we wanted people to see how they struggle so that they could better understand how poverty and immigration issues effect their standards on education and the family, ect.
Impact & Action
The high school students really voiced their opinions about staying in school and the importance of education. They heard a first hand account of the struggle of one of the panelists to obtain her drivers license and college degree because she had citizenship issues. The film was very relatable for a lot of these kids and I think it motivated them to stick together as a community of students at their school because they expressed how they knew that their school gets a bad repuatation around their community due to it beinf predominately Lations and less priveldged students.
This event had a lot of audience participation, it was a great success. Once the high school students were probed a bit more about the film and their thoughts on education and "being Latino," they weren't shy to talk about their experiences. One young man told everyone how their school is like a family, and he shared how he dropped out of high school in 10th grade because he felt the need to work, but he was urged by his classmates to return to school. He touched a lot of people with his honesty and showed just how successful a student can be no matter what struggles they face or what demographic they fit, as long as they have "teachers who care and wan to see us graduate, then we want to be at school and go to college" one boy also said.