City of Trees


Sunday, Nov. 8 at 4:30pm
Washington U./Brown

When unemployment exceeds 25 percent in D.C.'s Ward 8 in 2010, the nonprofit Washington Parks & People receives a $2.7 million stimulus grant from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act to create the Green Corps. Steve Coleman, a white, grassroots environmental activist who directs the organization, is tasked with using the grant to hire 150 mostly black, unemployed residents from Southeast D.C. to plant several thousand trees in the city's most blighted urban parks. For Charles Holcomb, the paycheck offers him a chance to give his newborn daughter the life he never had. For Michael Samuels, the job training is a first step forward after a drug conviction marred his employment record. For James Magruder, the program offers a chance to prove that his neighborhood roots position him as an unsung leader. But even though the goal of putting unemployed people back to work by planting trees seems simple, a range of impediments complicates the program.

U.S., 2015, 74 min.

Directed by

Brandon Kramer

Film Category

Environmental Focus Human Rights Spotlight Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight Race in America: The Black Experience

With director Kramer, producer Lance Kramer, environmental activist Van Jones, and Steve Coleman, Washington Parks and People's executive director.

Sponsored by

Ward & Carol Klein

Shown with



Planting trees has long been a symbol of hope for the future, and that's reflected in new growth in Ferguson.

Corinne McAfee, U.S., 2014, 5 min.