Yesterday, I finished watching Brick City, a five-part documentary about the city of Newark and its attempt to manage crime during the summer of 2008 under Mayor Cory Booker.

I’ve also recently watched Street Fight (the story of Booker’s 2002 campaign against the horribly corrupt Sharpe James) and The Nine Lives of Marion Barry. I’ve found myself accidentally constructing an urban politics documentary film box set.

I pulled this clip because I think it’s the most powerful monologue I’ve seen in a good long while. The speaker is not an actor, however. This is real. It’s the passion and pain of an inner city principal unable to keep his students safe, and it is heartbreaking.

The documentary website has more info ( and the series is available via Sundance Channel on demand, as well as iTunes ( It’s $9 for all five episodes. Cheaper than a movie, and far higher quality.

In terms of followup, I’m interested in a few things.

a) your thoughts on the scene. Does it reflect your experience? Is it completely foreign to you?

b) Other documentaries that shed intelligent light on the challenges of urban/black/lower income communities

c) Effective solutions to the situation depicted in the scene or similar ones, whether they be government policies, non-profit organizations, mentoring programs etc.

Posted via web from baratunde’s posterous

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