Saturday Vids: I Am This Land Video Contest Winner
I'm a little late on this, but a while back I was one of the judges for the I Am This Land video contest on diversity. The winner was recently announced, and I'm happy to report that the video "Role Call" was the winner. A little bit about the winning video:
"Role Call" is a fun and thought-provoking video made by a team of students and alumni at Flushing International High School (FIHS) in Queens, New York. The MTV-style video - of a student in class daydreaming about gender, cultural expression, and racial stereotypes - won the judges over.
“The video was created in response to several incidents of violence in our school, and our desire to use media to promote respect and tolerance in our school and beyond,” said teacher Dillon Paul. "Our students come from approximately 40 different countries and speak 20 different languages. Like most high schools, however, cultural differences, sexual and gender identity can be sources of discomfort and fear, leading to bigotry, bullying and violence.” From Jean Franco Vergaray Franco (a student, and Lead Director and Editor on the film), “That we could portray one person being all these different personalities, all these different identities, was just a way to say, diversity is okay. People shouldn't be labeled.”
One of the reasons many girls today don’t identify as feminists is because there are quite a few of us who are convinced that men and women are totally equal. The 1970’s took care of all of our political and social battles, teens reason, looking to mothers who work to the same degree and prestige as their fathers and male classmates who they largely equal or surpass in intelligence. What exactly are feminists fighting for, they might wonder, and write us off as never-satisfied perpetual complainers.
Well. Even if we completely disregard the fact that this standpoint can really only occur to girls of first-world countries, and within those countries to girls of middle-upper classes, there are still a lot of political and economic disparities that …
According to a recent report by ActionAid – an international NGO – there’s a rising, incredibly homophobic and violent trend amongst South Africans. In addition to waves of homophobic attacks and murders in townships like Johannesburg and Cape Town, South African lesbians are the victims of “corrective” rape.
“Corrective rape” is the practice of a heterosexual man raping a lesbian with the intent of “turning” her heterosexual. As if the act of rape weren’t enough, many of these women experience after effects of contracting HIV/AIDS and lasting psychological trauma, including a rise in depression and suicide attempts.
What’s even more frustrating than the occurrence of Corrective Rape is the South African government’s complete unwillingness to act on behalf of the victims. South Africa’s national prosecuting authority, …
11 for ’11: Eleven Ways to Fight for Human Rights and Social Justice in 2011
Human rights org Breakthrough has announced eleven ways that individuals can help fight for human rights in 2011, recommending eleven unique actions, many supported by activist and nonprofit organizations. The Breakthrough eleven for eleven range from encouraging acceptance and tolerance among children, to helping to end violence against women, to participating in Breakthrough’s video and Twitter contest, I AM THIS LAND, looking for new visions of a more tolerant and accepting America, going on now atwww.iamthisland.org.
The Breakthrough eleven for eleven are below:
1. Read for Good: Take a cue from Reading to End Racism of Colorado and talk to your local library about volunteering to host a reading group for kids. Choose books with a positive message of acceptance and encourage dialogue about their experiences.…
I'm sure a lot of you have seen at least one "It Gets Better" video. If you haven't, it's basically a project initiated to show LGBT youth that are struggling with their sexuality, and can't imagine a future as an openly gay adult, especially in the face of bullying. A bunch of celebrities have pitched in speaking from the perspectives of allies and LGBT adults. It's an awesome project, and Jezebel recently gathered what they think are the top 15 videos. Here are a few of my faves:
Tim Gunn (who opens up about his own past suicide attempt)
In the past few weeks leading up to election day, I’ve found it impossible to turn on the T.V. and not find myself face to face with an incredibly unflattering photo of a political candidate, with a voice over telling me how evil this person I’ve never heard of before is, and if I elect them (not that I can vote, but whatever), an angel will lose it’s wings/a million puppies will die/every kid in America will find out Santa doesn’t exist. Especially when I’ve had a really crappy day and all I want to do is sing along to Glee, these commercials seem to really be enough to make anybody want to tune out of the political sphere altogether. And apparently, that’s exactly what teenage girls across …
The Democratic Republic of Congo: Understanding the Conflict
civil war in the DRC
This year in school, I’m taking a really amazing English elective called Gender, Culture, Power (SURPRISE! It’s taught by the same awesome teacher who handed me Jessica Valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism). Basically, some of the coolest, smartest, classiest girls (and one brave guy) get together almost every day to discuss gender…culture…and power. It’s bliss. And while we’ve had our fun dissecting everything from KFC advertisements to the Handmaid’s Tale thus far, we just embarked on a far more serious, yet completely enthralling, topic: the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
My class researched the conflict, and here’s a rundown of what we found:
History:In 1960, the DRC became independent of Belgium, which had colonized the African country in 1877. Soon after, violence …