BI-POC International Film Festival

The schedule used for the BI-POC festival


The schedule used for the BI-POC festival

Jesus Morales Sandoval, contributor

On April 8th, from 1-4pm had a film festival to celebrate and show black indigenous people and people of color that they matter, that they’re seen, that they are just like everyone else. This event had various rooms in the 600s being used to show different movies. Attendees got to watch movies, win prizes, and got to eat great food.

When Mr. Valencia was asked about the BI-POC festival he talked about how seemingly everyone that went to it enjoyed the festival over all, he told me his favorite part was “ Having over 160 students enjoy themselves by eating good food, watching cool films, and winning cool prizes makes all the hard work worth it.” He also told me they held a raffle. In this raffle students could win rewards such as wireless speakers, wireless earbuds, Korean snacks, flags of various nationalities, and much more. I asked him to list some positives about this international festival, he said “It makes students feel seen.  Like our stories matter. Because they do. It lifts self-esteem because you see yourself positively represented, not just based on stereotypes.” adding “When students are exposed to diverse stories, they are better able to see the humanity in people different than themselves. There is less discrimination when we learn not to fear or hate each other.”

This should happen at every school in America because we are a diverse nation.”

— Mr. Ricardo Valencia

Mr. Valencia and his student Dira Sanchez both answered my questions of “Should the festival be done more often?” Mr. Valencia said “Absolutely. Meeting new people, watching great films, eating good food. These are just some of the things that make life more interesting.” and Dira answered saying “Yes, this film festival should be done more often. It gives BI-POC students a sense of home. It allows them to spend time with their peers and they have a chance to watch amazing films where people like themselves are the main characters.” The last thing I asked Mr. Valencia was “Should other places do this?” which he replied with “This should happen at every school in America because we are a diverse nation.  If you don’t learn my history, you may not honor the struggle of my people.  But if we learn each others’ story, we honor each other.  That is how we build solidarity across artificial divides.”

Overall the BI-POC film festival is a really fun and simple way of supporting black indigenous people and people of color. It allows them to know they’re seen, that they matter, that they’re more than what some people say. Black indigenous people and people of color are a part of the world’s future, it’s not up to 1 race to do everything, we’re all on this planet together. Who knows how much longer this planet has, could be millions of years, could be thousands, might as well support each other all the way through it.

To see our initial story about the Ethnic Studies Film Festival, click here.