Santa Barbara High Schoolers premier documentary about the asylum-seeking narrative
Views 14 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 2 - 27 - 2019 | By: Rebekah Beeghly
Every month, Santa Barbara holds the event First Thursday, a night of art and culture where different organizations offer free opportunities for the community to come engage and experience visual and performing arts in a family-friendly environment. For Youth Interactive—a nonprofit that uses art, entrepreneurship, and mentorship to empower teenagers—this means live music, local artists featuring their works, and many organizations sharing about their recent and current projects. Current Youth Interactive employee, CeCe Campos, described February’s First Thursday as being “extraordinary, lovely, couldn’t beat it!”
One of the organizations present was Peace Works Travel, a socially conscious experimental education abroad program. Peace Works Travel worked alongside Santa Barbara High School students to premiere a film entitled “From Honduras” featuring an interview with a woman currently seeking asylum at the border. The students, who went on the trip over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, got to hear her story, learn more about immigration policy and the complexities at the border, and use what they learned to help create this film and help others better understand as well.
The film tells the story of a woman who fled Honduras to protect her life and the lives of her family members. She goes on to tell of the struggles that followed this flee, including the inability to enter into the United States, despite it being legal for her to, due to technicalities. At its core, the film hopes to shed light on current conditions at the San Diego-Tijuana border and the realities of so many who face the harsh conditions that result for US immigration policies.
A few Youth Interactive students, Kim Salvador, Kaisy Iventura, and Stephanie Perez went on this most recent trip and found it very eye-opening. All three are seniors at Santa Barbara High School and a part of its Visual Arts and Design Academy (VADA). They each commented on how vastly their experience at the border differed from the news and how people talk about immigration and asylum in the United States. Salvador and Perez noted on the struggles of so many families at the border, and how what they are going through to protect and better their lives is often discounted by Americans for fear of “getting jobs stolen” from them. Iventura says, “The news portrays it as no big deal and people come here just because they want to, but when we hear their stories, that’s not it. We think people should watch this film to get more information and understanding about what [the issues at the border] are really about and to get outside your own bias.”
Peace Works Travel does many trips and programs like this one and is located in the Youth Interactive building on State Street.