‘Build Solidarity’: These Two Documentaries Capture the Uncertainty & Significance of This Moment

Lead Photo: Marchers at a Black and Brown Unity rally in Chicago, June 2020. Photo by Mateo Zapata/Courtesy of Quiet Pictures.
Marchers at a Black and Brown Unity rally in Chicago, June 2020. Photo by Mateo Zapata/Courtesy of Quiet Pictures.
Read more

Come fall, the September evening chill will require a new batch of mind-stimulating content to cuddle up to and keep us focused on the main thing. Namely, voting for the future we want and unifying to demand the changes we need. In come the teams behind PBS’ upcoming documentaries Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground and Building the American Dream.

The latter focuses on the abuse of immigrant labor as a whole and in Texas in particular. Beyond that, it highlights the fight back, by way of a workers’ movement in the construction industry. 35-year-old filmmaker Chelsea Hernandez is the producer and director behind the documentary.

“I hope my film encourages Latinx viewers to be empowered to stand up against injustices in the workplace and build solidarity with BIPOC groups who are fighting for safer working conditions and living wages,” Hernandez tells Remezcla.

As of 2019, at least 30% of construction workers in the state identify as Hispanic or Latino. In Texas and beyond, many in the profession (especially non-unionized workers) are largely overworked and underpaid. Hernandez hopes viewers of all backgrounds will not only learn of the injustices and inequalities of this corner of the labor force but take action against it.

“I hope that white viewers will recognize the need for safety and better wages on the worksite and become allies in the movement,” she says. “If one worker is not given a safe working environment, all workers are affected.”

Claudia and Alex, electricians living in Texas who immigrated from El Salvador. Courtesy of PBS.
Read more

Latino Vote, on the other hand, hopes to push people off their couches and out to vote.

“2020 has been a year like no other in recent memory,” Bernardo Ruiz, two-time Emmy nominated documentary filmmaker, tells us. “In Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground we were eager to bring journalism to the screen that doesn’t rely on correspondents, pundits or other outdated forms of visual journalism. Instead, we focus directly on the Latinx organizers and voters who may very well determine the nation’s political future.”

The documentary focuses on the United States’ swing states and follows campaigns’ work in this high-stakes election year—another timely subject given the many high-stake factors that are on the ballot. Yet again, Latinos are bound to be the largest non-white voting bloc ever.

Both docs are brought to you by Voces—a series produced by Latino Public Broadcasting that seeks to shine a light on issues that affect Latin Americans. You can watch both documentaries live on television on September 15 and October 6 respectively. Be sure to check your local listings for more or watch here on those dates.