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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Volunteering in the Dominican Republic gave Mica Wiley the motivation to tear down metaphorical and physical walls in America.

“Once you have that personal connection, why wouldn’t you help?” Wiley said.

Wiley is the arts project director for the Future of Freedom and Walls, which began in September and will run to Nov. 14. The festival is screening four free movies, two of which screened on Oct. 4 and Oct. 10, in the Reitz Union Auditorium on Tuesday and Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. The films will show the political issues in Europe, she said.

Wiley, a 21-year-old UF international studies junior, said she hopes students attending the film festival will learn to step outside their American comforts.

“If you’re not helping then you’re ignoring the fact that these people are, like, dying because you’re too lazy or too unwilling to make a difference,” she said.

The last freedom festival on campus was in 2009, Wiley said. She said global issues in 2009, like heightened racism, are similar to what is happening in 2017, which motivated the festival.

Melissa Gutierrez, a UF health science sophomore and Cuban immigrant, said she has dealt with many metaphorical walls in America.

She said people assume she is Mexican or came to the U.S. on a raft, but if people were more informed, they would not make those assumptions.

“It’s just being viewed so differently,” she said, “when I don’t think I am different at all.”

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