On Wednesday March 10th, the 150 winners of the C-SPAN StudentCam national student documentary competition were announced. Over 2,300 students from 43 US states submitted documentaries for consideration. Among the winners were Skyline Middle College students Arlette Mendez Joaquin, Divina Moreno, and Natalia Chevez Molina.

Their documentary, titled The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Epidemic, was awarded the Honorable Mention prize, earning the students $250 for their hard work. THeir film explored the ongoing crisis of exploitation and harm against indigenous women in the United States, and the lack of accountability by those in power to help solve this issue.

The students began working on their film in August 2020, and submitted their final cut to C-SPAN in January 2021. Skyline Middle College Seniors have participated in the StudentCam competition for three years, beginning in Fall 2018. However, Arlette, Divina, and Natalia are the first students from Skyline Middle College to be selected as winners in this prestigious national competition.

In response to her victory, I asked student filmmaker Divina Moreno the following question: What would you like viewers of your film to do after watching your documentary?

In her own words, “The most crucial thing I could ask viewers to do after watching our documentary is to spread awareness. This epidemic has been silenced by the media for so long which is why these tragedies continue to occur. We need justice for our indigenous women. Now that Deb Haaland has been appointed [as Secretary of the Interior] we hope to see more progress in the fight for indigenous rights, but we need to keep the conversation going.”

Article by Timothy Rottenberg, Middle College Instructor

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