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social justice

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Fontbonne University is a great place to indulge in many different volunteer efforts and campus activities. Although it is my senior year here at the school, I have taken the opportunity to become involved in as many things as possible. Fontbonne Day is a day of service where students, faculty, and outside volunteers come together to serve people of a community who are less fortunate than them. I was team captain that led a service group at a local domestic abuse shelter. There we prepped and cleaned a building that is being remodeled into a transitional housing facility for victims of domestic abuse and their children. Having the opportunity to be involved in something bigger than myself is always a great feeling, especially when the work being done will benefit people who really need it.

After speaking with the director of Lydia House, I told her that I would definitely be coming back to volunteer my time with the organization. Not only does volunteer work give you different life experiences, it also gives you the opportunity to meet wonderful people and hear their heartfelt stories.

 

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Over this past weekend, I attended the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, MO–again with my partner in crime, my sister. I’m less experienced when it comes to T/F, as this was just my second year. So if you want to learn more about the origins of T/F, I suggest clicking this link: http://truefalse.org/about/history

As with any journey, there are highs and lows, but this trip exceeded my expectations. It was all thanks to good friends and good films. Seriously, the films this year were extraordinary, and I was in excellent company.

Back in 1903 when the silent film The Great Train Robbery surfaced, audiences were immersed in a narrative movie (the first of its kind to my knowledge) that leant itself to an outpouring of all different kinds of emotions and reactions. And the best thing? Everyone was experiencing them together, united in laughter or astonishment.

And that’s exactly how T/F felt, sitting amongst fellow festival-goers who were just as eager to see the film. Everyone laughing in unison, or applauding at particularly moving moments. The films that inspired such boisterous reactions were Wiener, a documentary about the life, struggle, and political career of Anthony Wiener, and Sonita, a brilliant documentary about a 14-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran whose dream is to be a rapper.

I was able to see two other films, The Pearl about transgender women and their struggle to fit themselves into society and Author: The JT LeRoy Story about an intense web of characters and personas created by a woman named Laura Albert to attain the credibility and celebrity to write the stories she always longed to write.

Sonita won my heart, and the hearts of many, as after the film she appeared in person and performed. She was met by overwhelming applause, and in that moment I felt so lucky to have had such an experience. Documentary films may not be the most popular, but they have power.

Hopefully, these documentary films will make their way to St.Louis! In the meantime, seek out films that might not be the most popular but embody a message of social justice. And, soon enough the annual St.Louis International Film Festival will roll around. Can’t wait!

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.