A Review by June Hirsh
[If you cannot view the Little Men trailer above, you can see it here.]
I recently saw “Little Men”, a film by Ira Sachs, whose storyline revolves around an impending eviction.
Although initially my empathy was with the family being evicted, the story did not convey a good guy – bad guy scenario. That would have been too easy. It was a tragedy, a disastrous train wreck from start to finish.
The impending eviction hovered over everyone – the audience included – like a dark, dark cloud. It chipped away at all the player’s relationships, their humanness and dignity. There is the working class Hispanic woman – a seamstress, and her family. They were being evicted, not only from their apartment, but from the tiny storefront situated below their apartment, which housed the woman’s dress shop, her livelihood. And then there is the “landlord” and middle class family, dealing with the failure of the traditional family breadwinner, the husband, an unsuccessful actor, and with this, the family caving in to financial pressures.
And as disturbing, the 2 family’s young sons – the 2 “Little Men”, whose fragile and budding friendship was undermined and destroyed by the eviction.
Multiply this story by the thousands, millions – many stories so much more desperate – and obscene in how the laws are written and enforced, and you have “Evicted – Poverty and Profit in the American City”.
A terribly painful book, which I found difficult to read, “Evicted” indicts the powerful landlords, and our legal and legislative system, which perpetrates injustices against our most vulnerable populations – the poor – and in some instances impacts families living stable lives, who through unexpected circumstances beyond their control, are evicted, destabilized, and thrown into poverty.
It’s an expose and indictment of those who perpetuate, maintain, and benefit from the lucrative eviction business and the laws and institutions that support them. It has become clearer than day that poor and low income people have been abandoned in America, the land of plenty. Poverty, an unspoken word, is frighteningly on the rise.
As an independent activist in NYC, I see first hand how the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is selling units in the projects, and adjacent public land to private developers. This will result in mounting homelessness. Along with hundreds of activists around the city and throughout the country, I am dedicated to building a political grass roots movement with the clout to end poverty by empowering and giving voice to the millions of disenfranchised and abandoned voters across our country who have no voice – to address the daily issues that prevent us from living in dignity, be it lack of decent housing, the lack of employment opportunities, or access to free and quality education.
As we come together, from the ground up, and open up and reform the corrupt bi-partisan political process, we can make a difference. We must be able to not only say – no more – but to back it up with action.
June Hirsh is an organizer with IndependentVoting.org. She lives in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.
Politics for the People Conference Call
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Call In Number: 641 715-3605
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