El Pueblo Se Levanta (1968)

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The bureaucratic obstacles facing immigrants in obtaining government funded public assistance are well known. For years, a very common response in immigrant communities in the United States has been to implement assistance programs supported solely by the community. One finds it currently in Hispanic neighborhoods in Chicago and Los Angeles and, as this sobering and uplifting documentary reveals, in East Harlem's Puerto Rican community in the late 1960s. Faced with poor educations, lack of job training and opportunities, and government neglect, community leaders in East Harlem band together to create some form of need based aid for their struggling families. It's a serious examination of the difficulties of the immigrant experience and a demonstration of the importance of community.