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TOPIC: Civil Rights

Honor Hispanic Heritage Month with Eight Unique Documentaries

By Lola Méndez Hispanic Heritage Month has been honored annually in the United States since 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson first launched it as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration to last the four weeks from September 15th to October 15th. Hispanic Heritage Month commemorates the histories, cultures, and contributions … READ MORE

The Evolution of Disability in Film: After the Accolades, the Work Continues

By Lawrence Carter-Long Once upon a time, disability was just a diagnosis. Through time, the word has evolved to encompass larger more expansive concepts like community, identity, and culture. In 2020—thirty years after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act—anyone who still thinks of disability solely as a medical issue might not realize it but … READ MORE

“Your Vote Is Your Voice”: Best Films About Voting Rights

The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights in a Democracy, and yet who has been allowed to vote in America has been a battle that’s been bitterly waged for decades.  Two new documentaries; John Lewis: Good Trouble, about the legendary Civil Rights activist and Congressman; and American Experience’s two-part series The … READ MORE

Filmmaker Explores First Steps Toward Justice and Reconciliation

Independent filmmaker Jacqueline Olive, who has worked in non-fiction filmmaking for years and co-directed and co-produced the award-winning hour-long documentary, Black to Our Roots (PBS WORLD), makes her feature documentary directing debut with the searing Always in Season, which was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.    A … READ MORE

From Race Riots to Rainbow Coalitions and Heatwaves: Chicago Activism on Racial and Economic Justice

It would be foolhardy to try to succinctly sum up the political history of one of America’s most historically politically complicated cities–Chicago–in one sweeping post. Rather, consider this a basic primer of touchstones that connect some key dots, with recommendations for ways to learn more, as you think about the histories presented in two essentially … READ MORE

For Tribal Communities, Battle Over Land Is Nothing New

By Jordan Dresser Sometimes, two people can look out of the same window and see two very different things.  This outlook sprang to my mind while watching Treva Wurmfeld’s Conscience Point, which tells the story of the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s fight to preserve and protect the land they call home in Long Island, New York. Relocated to … READ MORE

Decade of Fire Filmmakers Change the Narrative About the South Bronx

The three-headed team as it were, of co-directors Vivian Vázquez Irizarry and Gretchen Hildebran, and producer Julia Steele Allen, each brought something different and special to the table in the making of the film Decade of Fire, which tells the shocking but untold piece of American urban history, when the South Bronx was on fire … READ MORE

Stepping Up for Homeless Black People in Oakland

By Pendarvis Harshaw The Independent Lens documentary Charm City brings to mind the long list of urban American cities that fall into the same category as the Baltimore seen in that film: Detroit, Newark, Compton, and Oakland, to name a few. They’re all post-industrial towns, where the closure of factories, underfunding of public education and … READ MORE