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Words

Human Rights Spotlight

War, peace and everything in between

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Those looking to expand their worldviews will have plenty of opportunities to do so in the near future. And, although the following events won’t require you to leave the continental United States, there’s a strong possibility that participating in them might inspire you to drop what you’re doing and travel the world in order to discover more about it.

The Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival (BHRFF) begins Feb. 21 and continues at various locales through March 2, closely followed by the Skagit Human Rights Festival (SHRF), which features a number of discussions and events from March 7-28 in Mount Vernon. And, since most events happening during both festivals is free, there’s simply no excuse to not expand your mind. 

In the 10 days that the Bellingham Human Rights Festival shows its 20 documentary films focusing on themes ranging from the environment to war and peace, Israel/Palestine issues, educational alternatives, indigenous rights and activism, those who attend can double up on their newfound knowledge. Whatever movie you watch—whether it’s about Israeli and Palestinian activists who protest the takeover a home by settlers (My Neighborhood), the often-harmful effects of western education on indigenous cultures (Schooling the World), or the origins and nature of civil war in Syria (The Suffering Grasses)—will be followed by an audience discussion facilitated either by the film’s directors, human rights activists and/or local experts, ensuring that the questions the documentaries raise can be answered while they’re still fresh in your mind.

And, while many of BHRFF’s films focus on issues beyond our country’s borders, there are plenty of mind-altering cinematic offerings focusing their lenses on issues closer to home. The Invisible War, for example, takes a close—and disturbing—look at sexual assault in the U.S. military. In Precious Knowledge, Tucson’s ethnic studies program gets support from its students. And, on closing night, longtime Bellingham peace activist Howard Harris gets the spotlight at a viewing of Peacemaker.

While the Skagit Valley Human Rights Festival isn’t billed as a “film festival,” per se, the series of events also features a number of documentaries, which are also followed by community-centered events.

“This year, we’re looking at food and agriculture from a few different angles, with a night on GMO foods and a night on local food systems,” organizer Jodie Buller says. “We’re also looking deeper at the issues that transgender people experience, offering a free concert with Dana Lyons, investigating Women in Leadership in media and politics, and talking about health care.”

With a tagline of “celebrate community, honor diversity,” the Skagit-based gatherings—most of which take place at Skagit Valley College—are centered a little closer to home, with panel discussions featuring local and regional experts. 

One event, “The Skagit Food System”—which takes place March 14—is wide-ranging in its efforts to bring attention to state of the food system locally, and also aims to discuss what’s going on to improve food security, food sovereignty and food justice. Local food system advocates such as Rita Ordonez (community food access manager for Community Action Skagit), Jim Meyer (Cascadian Home Farm general manager), and Karen Parnell (Skagit 1095) will be on hand, and community participation is encouraged.

Whether you’re interested in finding out more what’s happening in places you’ve never been or important issues closer to home, you’re sure to find things that will interest you at both festivals. If you can’t, well, you really need to expand your worldview—and now you know where to start.

ICU
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Events
Today
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Ubu Roi

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Interurban Trail

Spanish Storytime

10:30am|Lynden Library

Valley Writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Magnolia Street and Cornwall Avenue

Weird Washington

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Friday Night Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Whatcom Humane Society Wine Social

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

PhotoLUSH 2017

6:00pm|Lairmont Manor

Friday Night Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Always…Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

And I Remember

7:00pm|Village Books

King John

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

International Guitar Night

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

James Hunter Six

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Borealis Wind Quintet

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Cupid's Arrow Final Weekend

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

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Tomorrow
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Ubu Roi

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Weird Washington

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

PhotoLUSH 2017

6:00pm|Lairmont Manor

Always…Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

King John

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

Cupid's Arrow Final Weekend

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Snow Play Day and Survival Skills

8:00am|Mt. Baker Ski Area

Children's Literature Conference

9:00am|Performing Arts Center

What's New in Organic Gardening

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Plant Society Ramble

9:30am|Maple Creek Loop

UFO Primer

10:00am|Syre Hall

FiberFest 2017

10:00am|La Conner Middle/High School

Intro to Ancestry

10:00am|Ferndale Library

Winter Trail Run Series

10:00am|BBMX Park

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Smelt Run

10:00am|La Conner Middle School

Kids Can Cook

11:00am|Community Food Co-op

Washington Beer Open House

12:00pm|Whatcom and Skagit counties

An all-season outdoor expo

1:00pm

Tax Help

1:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Weird Washington

1:00pm|Lynden Library

Raising Pigs

1:30pm|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Peace Corps Revisited

3:00pm|Lynden Library

Geology Underfoot

3:00pm|Deming Library

Starry Night Chamber Orchestra

3:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Whatcom Writes

4:00pm|Village Books

Wishes for Our Stars Gala

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Varsity Vocals

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Comedy Fundraiser

7:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Boating Center Fundraiser

7:00pm|Elks Club

Light in the Night Gala

7:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Wetzel's World

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

Bayshore Symphony Winter Concert

7:30pm|Central Lutheran Church

Trove Bellingham Technical College
Sunday
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5:00pm

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Bayshore Symphony Winter Concert

7:30pm|Central Lutheran Church

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Refugee Talk

2:00pm|Christ the Servant Lutheran Church

Northwest Cancer Summit

2:00pm|Bellingham Golf and Country Club

Sting and Piano Chamber Concert

3:00pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

The Tao of Raven

4:00pm|Village Books

Making time with Oscar

4:30pm

The Irish Rovers

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

see our complete calendar »

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