Independent Lens

A Sermon on Gun Violence | The Armor of Light

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In this excerpt from The Armor of Light, the Rev. Rob Schenck gives a powerful sermon in which he urges Evangelicals to look beyond Fox News and the NRA when it comes to the issue of gun violence. He concludes with a resonant verse from Romans 13:12.

The Militarization of Police | Peace Officer

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In this excerpt from Peace Officer, the militarization of police is revealed to accelerate alongside the escalation of the War on Drugs, especially after the implementation of the “1033 program” following the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act in 1990 that authorized the U.S. military to donate equipment to police departments.

Film Clip 1 | The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

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Weaving together a treasure trove of rare footage with the voices of a diverse group of people who were there, Stanley Nelson tells the vibrant story of a pivotal movement as urgent today as it was then. 

 

Preview | The Armor of Light

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The Armor of Light follows the journey of Evangelical minister Rob Schenck, who is trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America, and Lucy McBath, the mother of an unarmed teenager who was murdered in Florida and whose story cast a spotlight on the state’s “Stand Your Ground” laws.

Origins of a Leader’s Voice | Dolores

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This segment includes an overview of civil rights leader Dolores Huerta’s background and the work she continues to pursue. Major political and social leaders like Luis Valdez talk about the expectations of Latina women of the 1960s and 1970s to assimilate and to marry. Dolores discusses her upbringing and how she challenged the expectations of a Latina woman in the United States by organizing with Fred Ross and the Community Service Organization to protest police brutality and organize workers.

The Reverend at the Gun Range | The Armor of Light

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In this excerpt from The Armor of Light, the Rev. Rob Schenck, who has begun to question whether America's gun culture is consistent with the Christian faith, visits a gun range in order to gain hands-on experience with the very thing tormenting his conscience. There, he puts himself through a disturbing mental exercise, imagining the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School as he squeezes the trigger.

Complexity of Identity and Chicano Power | Dolores

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These two film segments explore the idea of Chicano representation and the power of seeing yourself in the public and political landscape. Prominent Latino leaders, Raul M. Grijalva and Roberto Lovato, discuss what it meant to them as young men to see Latinos organizing and marching together. Dolores’ children talk about how their perception of beauty and good was influenced by the broader culture's pressure to assimilate, and how Dolores taught them to see their own skin and identity as beautiful. Angela Davis says social movements change not only laws, but how people see themselves.

What to Do: The State of the Criminal Justice System | Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story Film Module

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In this module, viewers hear from a range of people weighing in on the result of Cyntoia’s case, including a court-appointed forensic psychologist, the prosecuting attorney, and members of Cyntoia’s family. Questions such as whether teens should be tried as adults and what to do when teens commit serious crimes are addressed.

Intersectionality and the Making of a Movement | Dolores

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These three film segments illustrate how the major social movements of the 1960s and 1970s—including civil rights, feminism, environmentalism, Chicano Power, and farmworkers—were interrelated and strengthened one another. The fatal pesticide exposure of farmworkers, including cancer clusters and birth defects caused by DDT, sparked the grape boycott and the concept of environmental justice. Abortion rights as a part of the feminist movement is discussed as an issue that Dolores Huerta had difficulty accepting, though her perspective changed over time under the influence of feminist icon Gloria Steinem.

Introducing Kasey: Film Module | The Homestretch

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This is a short film module adapted from The Homestretch, as seen on PBS's Independent Lens. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, Kasey experienced episodes of homelessness with her family as a child, but after she came out as a lesbian, her family disowned her. Kasey then spent more than a year bouncing between friends' and family members' homes and sleeping on the street; she eventually dropped out of high school her senior year.

Kasey ultimately found a new transitional home—Belfort House, part of Teen Living Programs' (TLP) housing support—and reenrolled in school, but in her new living situation she still felt her mother's rejection of her sexual orientation. A talented poet and painter, Kasey continues to receive counseling for her mental-health challenges, and has moved into an apartment that is part of a new program for homeless youth. And although she continues to look for work, Kasey also hopes to go to college one day.

Kasey's story depicts the family rejection and subsequent homelessness that many lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) youth experience. Students will explore the challenges that LGBT youth face in finishing school while experiencing homelessness as well as the support that can be found in "chosen" families.

For more information about The Homestretch, visit the Independent Lens website.

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