Change the Subject: Labels, Libraries, and Activism

A Film Screening and Conversation
Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 - 4:00pm to 7:00pm
change the subject film logo

Join us for a documentary screening and conversation about what it means to advocate for yourself and your community against racist power structures. UCLA Library's Distinctive Collections will screen "Change the Subject: A documentary about labels, libraries and activism," documenting a group of students' efforts and ultimate impact in confronting an established practice of anti-immigrant description. This advocacy took them all the way from their University Library to the halls of Congress, and illustrates how a cataloging term became a flashpoint in the immigration debate on Capitol Hill.

A moderated panel discussion and Q & A with student activists featured in the documentary will follow. Refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP so we can plan accordingly.

About the Film

The power of words is incalculable. While researching immigration, a Dartmouth College student kept encountering the term “Illegal aliens” as a library subject heading. As a person who had grown up undocumented in Georgia, she was disturbed by this institutionalized form of a racial slur. And so she did something about it: she and other students joined librarians in petitioning the Library of Congress to change its terminology. Change the Subject tells the story of these students, whose singular effort at confronting an instance of anti-immigrant sentiment in their library catalog took them all the way from Baker-Berry Library to the halls of Congress. This film shows how an instance of campus activism entered the national spotlight, and how a cataloging term became a flashpoint in the immigration debate on Capitol Hill.



Librarian Jill Baron and filmmaker Sawyer Broadley co-directed the film, with significant collaboration from co-producers Óscar Rubén Cornejo Cásares and Melissa Padilla. While the narrative driving the film is of the activism of students and librarians around a Library of Congress subject heading, the film extends into a meditation on the ways that language is often weaponized to divide and dehumanize people.

About the Speakers

Eduardo Najera is the Program Manager for the Career Development Program at SCS Noonan Scholars-- a college access, success and career program for underrepresented populations. He is a native of Huamuxtitlan a small town in the Mexican state of Guerrero. As a first-generation graduate, Eduardo has committed himself to support students from underrepresented backgrounds achieve their career aspirations. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a major in Government and spent three years working for the Center of Professional Development at Dartmouth before moving back to his hometown, East Los Angeles.

Claudia A. Evans-Zepeda (Ph.D., University of New Mexico) is Associate Professor in the Department of Human Communication Studies at California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Evans-Zepeda’s scholarship focuses on the communicative intersections of culture, identity labels, and the role of race in migration, particularly within the context of social justice advocacy. Previously a faculty member in the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at Dartmouth College, she taught courses about social movements seeking socio-political equality and professional development on the rhetorical protest practices of undocumented youth working against vitriolic anti-immigrant discourse. Engaging the fields of communication studies, critical race theory, and Latino Studies, she has presented her research at numerous conferences and at immigrant-rights events. Prior and current research projects examining Latino/a youth activism appear in several edited book volumes and she has contributed her work to various journals, including: Chicana/Latina Journal (2017), Women's Studies in Communication Journal (2016), and co-authored manuscripts in Review of Communication (2014) and Association of Mexican American Educators Journal (2014), Journal of International & Intercultural Communication (2012) among others.

Estefani Marin is a member of the Dartmouth Class of 2017, majoring in Sociology and Latino Studies. She is now a Sociology Ph.D. student at UC Irvine. Her research focuses on the role of family support in educational trajectories.

About the Moderator

Lupe Davalos Meyers was born in Mexico and raised in Ventura, California. Throughout her entire life she grappled with the lived experience of living undocumented in the U.S. She came to graduate school at UCLA after nearly eight years of working in different policy sectors throughout the Bay Area. She served as a senior community organizer and lead campaigner working around issues of immigrant rights, education, and fair housing in promoting inclusive local policies. She mostly recently served as the City of Oakland’s Director of Kindergarten to College, where she worked and supported school leaders and parents with resources to ensure all students had the opportunity to access higher education resources. Lupe began graduate school in Fall 2018, eager to focus on the Latinx migration in Mississippi, where she had previously traveled extensively. Through exposure to the south, and in particular the emerging Latinx community, Lupe honed her passion and focused her research. Lupe will return to Mississippi in upon graduation in 2020 to return to policy advocacy and pursue a PhD in a burgeoning field.

change the subject poster

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