CNN’s Soledad O’Brien has embarked on a new venture in CNN’s documentary In America series, Latino in America. The second installment, titled In Her Corner, which will premiere at the New York International Film Festival on August 17th, follows the story of five-time national women’s boxing champ Marlen Esparza as she seeks to represent the US on the Olympic team – boxing was the last sport to deny women the chance to compete at the Olympic level, and with that barrier down, Esparza fights hard to give her community a hero.
She was smart enough to get full scholarships to top colleges, even though she comes from a blue-collar neighborhood. But she postponed college because Marlen, and her working class Mexican-American family, dream she will one day represent the US in the Olympics, giving their Latino community a hero that could push aside negative stereotypes. Standing in Marlen’s way are the competitors who share her Olympic aspirations, a mirror of the kind of girls who box in this country – blue collar, women of color who struggle in what is traditionally a man’s sport. Chief among them is Cristina Cruz, a Puerto Rican from Hell’s Kitchen.