Eco-feminist screening mixes gender and environmental issues

It's not everyday you get people from different political movements all rallying together around one central cause.

Black Lives Matter, transnational activists and environmentalists all came together to celebrate women. Any privilege from other attendees was checked at the door for this moment of recognition.

On Saturday, for the 2nd Annual Global Eco-feminism Conference hosted in Santa Monica College's HSS 165, there was a short film screened that brought to light the happenings at the International Women's Day Rally in March.

Student filmmakers at SMC shot the documentary as a part of a project for Global Girl Media, one of the featured presenters at the conference along with AF3IRM and Mujeres de Maiz. Francesca Guerrini, a Media Trainer for Global Girl Media led the group of girls and taught them how to film, interview, and edit.

The documentary marked a historic day that hasn't previously been filmed. In fact, AF3IRM has been doing this kind of work for over 25 years but this is the first time the world will be able to see it.

The International Women's Day Rally invited over 70 organizations to march for women's empowerment. Women, men and trans allies sought to tell the stories of the women around the world who are currently being oppressed.

Guerrini said, "The hardest part is to convince a young girl that she has a story." "Having an audience to tell your story adds to your empowerment," she continued.

The documentary talked about stories that aren't heavily shown in the media. This is what the members of AF3IRM, a feminist organization, call genocide.

AF3IRM National Chairperson Jollene Levid said, "The reason that we call it that is because we're seeing a global trend of women being killed off like the women of Guatemala who were massacred by the military or through structural programs that are slowly starving and killing off women and children around the globe."

The issues addressed in the film extend from poverty wages and motherhood to reproductive justice and gentrification.

Levid explained that Eco-feminism is not a new groundbreaking theory. She said, "Eco-feminism is important to us women of color, us transnational women, because from the first time the conquistadors stepped foot on our family's land, in my case the Philippines, ever since that time our survival has been dependent and tied to the survival of the land."

Eco-feminism in a nutshell has been described as an initiative that combines ecologist movement elements and feminist movement elements as they have overlapping goals.

"If you think about indigenous resistance 500 years ago, 1000 years ago, that's eco-feminism. Whether that shows in anti-mining campaigns in the Philippines or anti-gentrification campaigns in Boyle Heights," said Levid. "We have had to be eco-feminists to survive."

The film itself read more like a multimedia project that the girls were doing, but that didn't take away from the message itself.

"It's all inter-related, and the fact that we call this place Mother Earth from indigenous peoples to today, it's not an accident," an interviewee said.

The rally showed people coming together for a greater cause, holding signs with pro-feminist affirmations. Women of all backgrounds and even men who are self-proclaimed feminists joined side by side, hand in hand.

Student Greening Program Director for Sustainable Works Kaya Foster said, "I've never heard this before in my life but there were women in Spanish 'Viva Palestina!' You don't usually hear groups say 'this isn't my issue but because it's your issue it's my issue.'"

After the short film screened all of the student filmmakers shared their reflections on participating in the film as well as the film's overall message.

One of the filmmakers, Anabelle Dowd, read a scripted reflection, "The eco-feminist lens enables us to understand the complexities of urban life and connectivity between us human beings, the world we live in, and the necessity of nurturing these delicate relationships."

The inclusivity of the movement is what drew Anabelle to her peers and fellow feminists. Everyone is made to feel like their problems are important. She continued, "Eco-feminism does not render any perspective useless or inferior to one another."

Another filmmaker echoed her sentiments and said, "Even though our stories are individual, we are not alone."