At Mountainfilm, this year’s Moving Mountains Symposium was focused on the topic of Equity and featured speakers and entertainment along the way. To get to the Symposium, however, you must head to High Camp which means you have to take the gondola up past Telluride’s mountains to Mountain Village. Surrounded by the mountains, I think this was the perfect time and day for the Symposium to take place so we could hear all about the differences in the world–and how to address them.

The Symposium first started, with introductions of native tribes and other cultural experiences. MILCK performed the song “Quiet” to a short film of different races and genders that played in the background while she sang. The song was a very touching moment that a lot of people felt. The song really opened my eyes to the voices that are left in the dark and how everyone has the right to be heard! As each speakers talked about the theme of equity and how the things we Inspire to do is a conversation that needs to be had, there was one really big thing to take away from the introduction: reaching outside your comfort zone. This, of course, is a hard thing to do for some because of the discomfort that comes with it but you get the experiences if you take the right steps.

The first speaker was Robin DiAngelo, author of the book White Fragility. The book draws attention to race and why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism. Her presentation was very informative and eye-opening to everyone in the audience, challenging each of us to question ourselves. DiAngelo says there’s no reverse racism, but it is a group system that makes racism operational.  “If you give it [racism] the power it will grow.” She also talked about niceness and how niceness will not stop racism but it’s like putting “nicest on a table when people want it off a table.” In all, her speech was very intriguing and I love everything she put out. Her book is one to read!

Carolyn Finley, the second speaker, talked about black bias and how hard work gets people from different places. Where DiAngelo talked about the white aspect of racism, Finley talks about the black aspect and how power is the difference.  These two ladies are incredible and deserve to be heard!

The last speaker was something different. The last speaker’s presentation is what I think of when you say Equity. Bam Mendiola is a non-binary cisgender who talks about accountability and safe spaces. Mendiola says that there is no safe place and there will never be because the world itself will never be a safe place for anyone. Mendiola says that identity is the biggest factor and “biodiversity protects the identities that are “silenced.” Mendiola also talks about Situational Awareness, which we all need to understand. As Mendiola describes it, Situational Awareness is when a “cat takes the longest way because if they take the shortest way and expose themselves they would be in danger.” He is saying we must change our direction at times to feel “safe” and not in danger. No one wants to feel exposed. Lastly, Mendiola talked about Co-Liberation and how “we are not free unless we are all free.” The environment needs to work together to benefit all systems! What an amazing speech about different genders and the ability to feel “safe.”

The entire symposium was a great opportunity to learn about all the different race- and gender-bias issues.  it was a great environment and a very open space to have these conversations at Mountainfilm and I am glad that more and are people are pushing for Inclusion and acceptability for all! Everyone seemed to have a great time while watching the prisoners and if you have an opportunity to learn about Equity please do so!


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Kelly Hagberg

Hey guys!! I am a junior here at WSU and I am double majoring in Social Work and Film! I love music and I also play guitar!

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