Ethnic Studies

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Parke Ballantine
Class of 2011
Media Coordinator

Parke Ballantine
“The life lesson I’d like to offer Ethnic Studies students is to take on the responsibility of holistic healing for yourself and your communities. ”

What are you doing now and what are the highlights of your achievements or experiences since graduation?
After graduating Mills, I began work as the Media Assistant at the Native American Health Center. I am now the Media Coordinator where I supervise video production, organize and facilitate digital storytelling workshops, present at conferences, and network with other media and Native organizations to expand our department and services. My film Femme PSA was shown at the Oakland Pride Film Festival in September 2011, and I have worked and continue to work in collaboration with individual artists and organizations in my personal and professional video production work.

How did your Ethnic Studies degree prepare you for your current position?
My degree in Ethnic Studies prepared me for my current position by giving me the foundational concepts and histories, the academic language, and the critical eye for intersectional politics that I needed to create, promote, and teach socially conscious media. I was able to connect the research methods I learned in the classroom with the media work I was producing, recognizing the intersections and similarities between how research is conducted and how media is created, and how to avoid recreating the traumatizing and oppressive methods often used.

How did being a part of the Ethnic Studies community at Mills change you?
Being a part of the Ethnic Studies community at Mills changed me because it helped me find ways of putting the ideas and theories I was being taught into practice. It deepened my understanding of how being a white lesbian woman impacts the ways I move through the world, challenging me to confront life issues using the anti-oppressive ideologies I gained in class. The relationships I carry with me from Mills come predominantly from the Ethnic Studies community and have aided me both professionally and personally in becoming a better woman.

What life lessons would you like to offer to current Ethnic Studies majors and minors?
The life lesson I’d like to offer Ethnic Studies students is to take on the responsibility of holistic healing for yourself and your communities. Most of the texts we read in Ethnic Studies are addressing trauma in some way, whether that be historical, institutional, or inter-personal. What I have found is that by applying these theories and ideas to my life, I have been able to achieve a greater amount of success in business, personal happiness, and in creating strong, healthy relationships. I would really encourage everyone to take advantage of not only the academic benefits of being in Ethnic Studies, but also the healing benefits found through the application of the knowledge given to us.

What are your future goals?
My goals for the future are to find ways to make media production more accessible. I would like to be a part of a collective committed to creating and teaching technology for healing, community connections, skill building, and creative expression. I love making films and want to be a part of productions that work to build positive, strength-based imagery and messages using staff and crew that reflect the content. I want to be an outstanding and active member in my communities, while also sharing knowledge and encouraging talent in others.