EARNING HER SUBJECTS’ TRUST
As she planned to film Jornalerx, Medina-Tayac connected with the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center (PEOC), a haven for day laborers to find safe work at a fair wage and learn new skills. The PEOC organizers referred her to those who were fighting to establish a similar center in San Bernardino.
“Because of my organizing experience and family background, this felt comfortable,” said Medina-Tayac. “You must be mindful of what you put out. These workers are extremely vulnerable. I trusted myself to pay attention to what the organizers and workers wanted versus imposing my own idea.”
Jornalerx spotlights workers who faced a police raid and thousands of dollars in unfair tickets as they advocated for a day labor center. Medina-Tayac’s film brings to light the injustices that many undocumented workers face.
Cupchoy encouraged Medina-Tayac to submit Jornalerx to the 13th OC Film Fiesta, an award-winning selection of films, documentaries, and activities that connect Orange County residents with their international, multicultural heritages. Medina-Tayac was one of four Pitzer student filmmakers whose work was chosen by the Film Fiesta.
Medina-Tayac strives to make her work accessible and free for anyone to watch. “I’m not in it for accolades,” she said. “Capturing injustices on film exposes the systems of oppression we’re facing and lets us see it with our own eyes. At Standing Rock, there were people documenting what was happening, so it spread to more people.”