“I was in prison before I was even born.” So begins the story of Dr. Victor Rios, who, by 15, was a high-school dropout and gang member with three felony convictions and a death wish. But when a teacher's quiet persistence, mentor Martin Flores' moral conviction, and his best friend's murder converge, Rios’ path takes an unexpected turn. The film weaves together Rios’ fraught but eventually triumphant personal story with those of contemporary high-school African-American and Latino dropouts — or, in the film’s vernacular, “pushouts” — who participate in a program at LA’s YO!Watts youth center, which attempts to provide them with the tools and confidence necessary to re-start their educations. “The Pushouts” provocatively interrogates crucial questions of race, class, and power — and the promise and perils of education — at a particularly urgent time. The Portland Observer writes: "(Rios) is a compelling focus for examining the forces arrayed against poor kids of color and the sort of personal investment that can help them reframe their lives."
Film CategoryLeon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight Mean Streets: Viewing the Divided City Through the Lens of Film and Television Race in America: The Black Experience Spotlight on Inspiration Documentary Competition Women in Film Spotlight
SubjectClass Issues Education Human Rights Latino School Youth
Co-presented with Nine Network of Public Media and the American Graduate Initiative of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Film WebsiteOfficial Website
This compelling record of the 1963 boycott of Chicago's public schools — when 250,000 students walked out in protest of racial segregation — combines unseen 16mm footage of the event with insights from the original participants and present-day protesters against school closings.