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Pomona College Senior Recipient of Davis Grant for Media and the Arts Project

Pomona College senior Julie Juarez is the recipient of a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant to fund her project, Global Action Through Media and the Arts (GAMA). GAMA is a four-week summer program where 20 Baldwin Park High School (Calif.) students will get the opportunity to film documentaries about issues of social justice that are relevant to them and their communities. Students will work collaboratively, write scripts and be taught technical skills in digital media, including filming, audio recording and film editing.

A 2008 graduate of Baldwin Park High School, Juarez says she has always been committed to giving back to her alma mater. While she has good memories of her high school years, she realized later that there were ways her public school education could have been better. The high school serves almost 2,500 students: 86% of which are Latino/a and almost 70% are on free or reduced lunch. Only 14% of the students proceed to a post-secondary education. Not surprisingly, digital media equipment resources aren’t something the school can make available to students—something Juarez hopes to change with her project.

“I have always been interested in the incorporation of technology within the education system because I feel it is intimately linked to a student's preparation in a largely technologically dominated society,” says Juarez.

She hopes students will combine technological know-how with a passion to have their voices heard on issues that matter to them most. Juarez believes that documentaries are “a powerful and universally understood way to get messages across to peoples of all walks of life.” She said her project is “a combination of technology literacy, social justice, educational justice, youth empowerment and documentaries! It just seemed like the perfect project for all the things that interest me.”

The project was conceived during conversations Juarez had with two Baldwin Park teachers and a guidance counselor about the high school’s needs. Juarez's hope is to find a way to make this project sustainable for coming years.

Juarez says this project will have at the forefront the expectation that college access is important for the Baldwin Park students. In the works are a couple of workshops on college access and a tentative field trip and tour of Pomona College.

Juarez is majoring in Chicano/a-Latino/a studies, with a minor in Spanish. She is the daughter of Rocelia Juarez of Baldwin Park.

Davis Projects for Peace is an initiative for students to design grassroots projects that promote peace and address the root causes of conflict among parties.  Applicants are encouraged to use their creativity to design projects and employ innovative techniques for engaging project participants in ways that focus on conflict resolution, reconciliation, building understanding and breaking down barriers which cause conflict, and finding solutions for resolving conflict and maintaining peace.  Through a competition on over 90 college campuses, projects are selected for funding at $10,000 each.