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La Phoenikera: Arizona Center for Empowerment Premiers New Short Film

Updated: Jan 4

On November 15, we made our way to The Garden (central Phoenix venue) to attend the private screening of “Genesis of Empowerment,” a film produced by Arizona Center for Empowerment (ACE), directed by Gina Mendez, the organization’s democracy director.

By Nuvia Enriquez

According to ACE, through the power of their membership, they have registered a record number of voters, achieved historic legislative victories and provided a myriad of direct services to the state’s immigrant communities. The film shows the direct link between the organization’s success and embracing Latinx culture as they carry out the work. 

The screening was followed by a panel featuring its director, Gina, Destiny and Jordy, who all appeared in the film. They talked about their work and why it matters to them. 

Gina was exposed to the work of the organization through a presentation at Arizona State University on the campaign to increase the state’s minimum wage. Growing up, she hardly saw her mom because she worked two jobs so the issue was very personal.

Jordy’s activism work is a product of SB1070 and indigenous Tonatierra, a center for indigenous empowerment. Being part of a mixed status family and knowing friends who have been displaced, ACE’s work on immigration and housing are what keep him involved in the organization.

Destiny, was motivated to work with ACE by the struggles faced by her teachers. She became involved in advocating for increased teacher salaries and for Proposition 208, which would tax the wealthy to fund education, and that is how she started working with ACE.  

The film features Gina, Destiny, Jordy and Alex Gomez, who heads Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), ACE’s sister organization. It will make its public debut at the Indie Film Fest in February of next year. Stay tuned for details.


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