My name is Leif Mattern, and I am 23 years old. I was born and raised in Ukiah California, on about 40 acres of vineyard. After high school, I spent two years at Santa Rosa Junior College, where I studied abroad in London, England during the Fall semester 2010. After completing my general education credits, I transferred to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where I am majoring in Sociology with a minor in Anthropology.
I am currently ready to graduate from my undergraduate studies this December 2013. I currently plan to stay in Colorado through the Spring semester, but I am not sure what else lies ahead for me. This last summer I had the opportunity to be a part of a Cultural Anthropology Field School down on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation in the Southwest corner of Colorado, where I worked as an Intern for the Public Works Department of the Ute Mountain Tribe. This experience has sparked my interest in working with Native Tribes here in the U.S and abroad. I am not sure yet in what capacity, but I am excited to see what the future holds.
Being a part of this film (If These Halls Could Talk) has changed my life. There isn’t a day that goes by where I do not think of the experiences that I had or the things that I learned, not only about the state of race relations today, but about myself. Being a white, heterosexual male in this society comes with an incredible amount of privilege that was invisible to me before taking part in this film. I was exposed to a fraction of the pain that people of color experience on a daily basis, due to the structural racism that persists in our society.
I am committed to unlearning racism, and continue to talk about issues of race and inequality, where previously I had not. I will be forever indebted to the cast members and the staff and crew at Stir fry Seminars that worked with me and helped me realize what few white folks ever do.