Our struggles are all connected

Our struggles are all connected

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

By: Eduardo Martinez

Lucha, a social justice student activist group, hosted a screening of Entre Nos on Columbia University’s campus in New York on a Thursday evening. luchaWe had a group of about fifteen students comprising a variety of ethnic, racial, and gender identities watch the film and then discuss the issues it raised. We began the discussion by sharing a scene that stood out from the film and why; one common theme across the different choices was the solidarity expressed with Mariana. Members of the audience reflected on how this solidarity was crucial in her experience of homelessness, unemployment, and of having an abortion, even when abandoned by her partner and struggling with her religion. The film demonstrated how solidarity between people in working class communities of color is developed and sustained as a necessity.

One important point that came out of the discussion of this theme emerged from a comment by one individual that the support Mariana received in her decision to have an abortion and to make money by collecting cans showed that differences in gender, ethnicity, and class do not matter as long as we have solidarity. However, other members of the audience jumped in to explain how shared struggles between different individuals and communities lead to bonds of solidarity while still acknowledging the importance of different identities. Mariana was in these particular circumstances partially because of her social position as a woman, as a recent immigrant, etc. and we need not erase these identities to support one another. It was very exciting to see this level of awareness and analysis emerge from a discussion on our campus where many students fail to understand these kinds of discussions as a result of their privileged social position.luchabanner2

It seemed that our entire audience already held progressive views with regards to reproductive justice, so our discussion of Mariana’s abortion turned towards the institutional and economic factors affecting her experience and alternative outcomes. As a recent immigrant without employment, Mariana had neither the security nor the income to have an abortion under the supervision of a healthcare professional. However, she would have faced further economic, social, and economic hardship had she not received the help from her neighbor, as some women do not have access to reproductive health information or resources. Our audience members also pointed out that the particular life outcomes for Gabriel and Andrea are not necessarily common and are not necessary to speak of “success.”

We discussed many other ideas raised by the film, but I think the examples here demonstrate how our audience was very receptive to the possible message(s) of the film. We were very encouraged by everyone’s excitement to discuss these topics and work through how we should and often do support one another in our different communities. We hope that this screening will serve as a catalyst for similar discussions in the future so that we can gain a better understanding of how to support one another, especially through difficult experiences like those depicted in Entre Nos.