Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"Revolution '67"

I happened to catch another great POV documentary last night on PBS. Again, I was just getting ready to shut the TV off and read a book, and did one last loop, and saw that a new POV movie was coming on. I figured I'd give it 5 minutes... well, I immediately got absorbed into the movie and learned a lot from it. In a nutshell, it was about some race riots aka revolution in the city of Newark, NJ back in 1967. I had never heard this story before, and had no idea how prevalent these riots were between 1964 and 1967. The movie did a good job in showing that it came down to not just one issue that caused the riots, but rather a series of class and race and social injustices that were piled on top of the citizens of Newark at that time. But it was all "sparked" by another police brutality case. It got pretty bad, to the point where they called in the state police and the national guard to "control" the riots. But as the movie pointed out, it was total chaos and in fact the presence of the armed national guard, and state police actually made matters worse.
I enjoy these documentaries because I feel like I am learning something important, yet once the show is over, I usually feel depressed because of a sense of helplessness and a feeling of frustration for not knowing what to do to help out.
So after the program I jumped online before going to bed, and I found an article online from the Philadelphia City Paper. It was like Deja Vu. First of all the story was very sad, about how a soldier over in the Iraq Occupation (I will not call it a war) was wounded by an IED. He was sent home (after a rough time of recovery) to his parents house as his wife had just left him, while he was away in Iraq. But, then the article goes on to report a first hand account of what life was like for this soldier in a section of Philadelphia. It was all the same events and problems that the people in 1967 faced in Newark (though not so much race related). I can't imagine living in a city with those events going on, on a daily basis no less. I again felt depressed and frustrated at not knowing what to do or how to help.
Here is the original article about Sargent Erik Arroyo. I wish him best of luck, and encourage him to not give up... I hope his situation improves in some way, hopefully the community will come together and support this man through difficult times.
So, not a very happy post today. If anyone has advice on how people can help with social injustices regarding race and poverty, please post in the comments.

Oh, and the name of the POV movie is "Revolution 67" by filmmaker Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno. Here's the link to the POV website on PBS.

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