This week was one of productivity as well as positivity. My colleagues are some of the best people I have ever worked with and the only people who I was able to get comfortable around very quickly. On the first day, we attended a group blessing along with another internship group called SCA, Student Conservation Association, and were able to mingle with them a bit, although our groups kept to themselves mostly. The sun was bright and felt like someone was rubbing cinnamon on everyone’s body as our shirts and brows became drenched with salt while we stood respectfully around a small Mezo American tribe called the Chikawa, who blessed us with good luck and gratitude.
The second day, everyone jumped into analyzing and educating themselves on the art of filmmaking as well as photography, diligently taking apart scenes that were slowed down to show what the protagonist was feeling, how color schemes have a big effect on the tone of scenes, proper terms for frames, the composition of audio and footage, how certain shots in scenes are displayed and their terms, as well as terms to describe what raw footage is called. On that same day, we walked around the East End of Houston and began learning about how social injustice works and how simple things such as deep puddles in roads and crosswalks and random shopping carts in barren parts of property are signs of ill management and injustice for the community. However, despite the negative aspects that were brought to our attention, we were given the opportunity to walk to and admire murals of Vanessa Guillen, a Houston native and U.S. soldier who was brutally murdered and mutilated in Fort Hood, Texas. These murals were created by fellow Houstonians who teamed up with local sponsors to pay tribute to Guillen’s family and continue to fight for justice. While seeing these murals, we were able to pay our respects and recognize that the Latino and black community still struggle to find justice and recognition in the media as well as colored women in general.
Wednesday was a day where all the interns were able to catch up on footage as well as tasks related to writing, editing, and transcribing previous materials. Towards the end of the work day, everyone gathered in the media room as we interviewed every intern, asking about how they were feeling about their experiences and what they wanted to achieve while being in this internship.
Thursday was another day to catch up on work and this time, for me at least, involved getting started on managing the Houston Voices social media pages and creating a recap for Friday’s blog post, which I’m sure, you are reading now! Towards the end of the day, we met together in the conference room to analyze a film called Dona Guille y El Gran Mercando by Juan Elizondo and Michelle Mija. The film was about a humble Mexican woman named Dona who worked at a flea market that was a joint business with her daughter in Mexico. We analyzed the shots of certain scenes, color schemes, as well as why Mr. Elizondo chose Dona and a flea market as the subject of his thesis project for college. Mr. Elizondo taught us why it’s important to make the protagonist feel comfortable, get involved into what they do to learn more about what their life is like, and that getting to personally know the protagonist would add more meaning and depth to the film you’re making. We also learned that it’s important to take as many opportunities as you can, so as to expand your knowledge, portfolio, skills, and to become a more versatile person.
Lastly, Friday was like a beehive of productivity. Everyone worked on finalizing their projects and submitting them to the T.E.J.A.S. email to create a presentation of week 1. During this project, Houston Voices made their first post, made by the intern journalist, on their social media accounts.Once everyone’s projects were finalized, we sat in the conference room listening to a zoom meeting that involved advocates for the BREATHE Act, Migrant Justice, and a Women Empowerment group. We were able to listen and analyze what these advocates stood for and what their movement/ organization would affect if they were to get governmentally recognized. The biggest and most dedicated act seemed to be the BREATHE Act, an act that advocates for the abolition of police and funding in community safety in honor of George Floyd. T.E.J.A.S plays a role in this act by informing incentivizing states to make specified equity-focused policy changes such as making sure there are communities who have easy access to clean water for housing, drinking, etc., creating a clear time- bound plan for ensuring that all communities have access to breathable air within EPA safety limits, and creating a clear time-bound plan for meeting 100% of the State power demand.