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COM Senior Profile: Jocabed Aragon

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Envisioning Change

Written by: Brianna Ross

Student by day, film editor and video artist by night; Jocabed Aragon is a senior at UNCW from Sanford, NC who seeks to connect different people with different cultures through film. With this goal in mind, Aragon chose to major in both Film Studies and Communication Studies. In addition to her studies, Aragon sought out various leadership positions that would help her develop her own understanding of diverse groups of people. Two of which were “Mi Casa” and the Centro Hispano Embajadores (CHE), both serving as community outreach programs for local Latinx students. Aragon also stated that she was very passionate about social justice, so she joined a student organization called My People Mi Voz, as a way to “create change on UNCW’s campus.”

Outside of her on-campus involvement, Aragon was also involved with three different internships, all involving work with immigrants, refugees, and other underrepresented groups of people. First, she worked with the Jesus, Justice, Poverty Institute (JJP) in Oakland, CA, where she became involved with the East Space sanctuary covenant and partnered with immigration legal offices to offer free support and legal services for refugees. Aragon described the internship as “one of the most important experiences of my life.”

Inspired by her experience, Aragon went on to an internship with the Montagnard Oral History Project in Vietnam where she worked as an editor assistant, helping the director share the experiences of Vietnamese immigrants who had moved to the U.S. only to move back to Vietnam during the war. Finally, Aragon worked as a program coordinator for the Sanford community’s El Refugio Summer Festival, an event that emphasized building a bridge between immigrants and those who are U.S. citizens by birth.

As demonstrated by her involvement and various internship experiences, Aragon seeks to promote diversity, culture and social justice in society. For these reasons, Aragon has chosen to use her films as a means to express her beliefs and create art that anyone can understand and relate to. Aragon’s passion and creativity have already earned her admission into three different film festivals.

First, she was admitted into the Wilm Film Chick Flick Festival’s premiere event where she debuted her compilation video of significant events surrounding the 2016 election featuring a recording of Martin Luther King’s “The Three Evils of Society” speech. Next, Aragon was admitted to the Cucalorus Film Festival where, with the help of UNCW ETEAL, she was able to showcase her compilation film yet again. This event was particularly meaningful for Aragon, because it was the first time she was able to see people react to her video and feel that “they really understood what I was trying to say.” Finally, Aragon presented a film at the 8th annual Visions Film Festival and Conference held at UNCW. Aragon served as the hospitality and outreach director in hopes of recruiting new film makers to a community that is “run by undergraduates for undergraduates”, where there is a focus on the scholarly side of films and film making.

When asked about her experiences at UNCW and their overall impact, Aragon stated that a major part of her experience has been shaped by her interactions with Centro Hispano, one of the only Latinx resource centers in the state. She said, “They embraced me, they gave me a home away from home and because of them I am who I am right now.” Aragon also said she is thankful for “the professors [at UNCW]” because they are “very passionate about what they do, and want to connect with you one on one.” Further, it is the same sense of comradery and connection in the greater Wilmington film/art community that has been an “incredible support system” for her. Specifically, in the sense that the Wilmington arts community has given her a chance to “hear other people’s ideas and collaborate with other types of artists.” Aragon also added that the experiences she has had in Wilmington have been “impactful” because she realized “art is supposed to mirror reality [and since] our experiences shape who we are and what we do every day,” Aragon stated, “there is no way for me to distance myself from my art, my work, my identity.”

These same senses of home, community and identity are what Aragon likes to bring to her audiences via film. She further illustrated this by describing her films as poems where “whoever gets it gets it” and “people are [often] surprised how close the message[s] hit home.” All in all, Aragon hopes that her films will raise awareness for social issues and give a voice to those who cannot always express what they are going through. “After all”, she says, “we can [all] feel alone in this world, but film has this power, because it is an art, to change people, to move people, to connect people.”