Valencia College to advocate peace through film

In partnership with the Orlando Global Peace Film Festival, Valencia College will present three movies spread across two days, Thursday, Sept. 20 and Friday, Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace.

“If we hit an obstacle, it’s because there’s something better waiting for us,” said Rachel Allen, humanities professor and coordinator of the Initiative.

Allen expects a crowd of no more than 100 people will show, as another event will take place on the East Campus during the same time the Global Peace Film Festival celebrations are scheduled to begin.

The first screening will be of “Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story,” which will be shown at 7 p.m. on the Winter Park campus, Thursday.

This film is a documentary about one man’s daring decision to speak the truth about the oppression he faced in his daily life and how his actions changed the world as a result.

“Opening Our Eyes” describes the journeys of 11 people who made a difference and “Khaatti Suun (Pure Gold)” tells the story about how a group of young women in Nepal worked their way into the educational system one step at a time.

“Opening Our Eyes” will be shown at 7 p.m. on the east campus and Purna, guest speaker for “Khaatti Suun,” will present the film to be simulcast on both the east and west campuses from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21.

All screenings are free and open to the public.

Aside from the films shown during the Peace Day Celebrations, there will be a T-shirt giveaway and a candlelit human peace sign will assemble for photographs near Memory Mall on the east campus.

There’s a little bit of Ghandi, a dash of Ralph Nader, and a hint of something more to the story that unfolds within the walls of the Peace and Justice department at the college.

“It’s about non-violence,” said Krystal Pherai, a colleague of Allen’s. “It’s about raising awareness, especially around the Valencia community.”

“We want students to become inspired. We want them to know they can make a difference in the world,” said Pherai.
She said, “This isn’t your grandparent’s peace movement.”

“We still think of a peace movement when we think of the 1960s, where people were putting flowers in their hair and burning their bras,” said Allen.

Today peacemakers need to learn the culture, the language, and they must behave in the civil society where they wish to make a difference.

The movement starts at home, but extends to far-reaching countries like Nigeria and Nepal, where “Khaatti Suun” takes place.

Lisa Schirch, a research professor at Eastern Mennonite University, is currently working hand-in-hand with officers on the frontline in Iraq to come to a consensus as to what steps need to be taken to bring the American and Iraqi cultures together in agreement.

Whether in the United States or overseas, people are making a difference.

Last year was the first time the Peace and Justice Initiative partnered with the Human Empathy and Rights Organization (H.E.R.O.) club from the west campus to bring the Global Film Festival event to fruition.

Allen hopes that Valencia College will create ties with both the Islamic Society of Central Florida and our own psychology club with sponsors from Rollins College to further propagate events such as this in the future.

For more information, like the Peace and Justice Initiative on Facebook or read the latest newsletter.