This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. … It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it.
— President Lyndon B. Johnson, January 8, 1964
Yesterday marked 50 years since LBJ launched a war against poverty and a change in policy that led to the creation of the food stamp program, Medicare; Medicaid; Head Start; and expanded Social Security with the aim of helping the underprivileged. At the time, 1 in 5 US citizens qualified as living in poverty…Our national poverty rate fell 42 percent during the War on Poverty, from 1964 to 1973. (See the American Progress article.)
However in the 80s and 90s, many of these social programs were undermined or diluted and the rate of poverty reduction declined. As of 2013, 15% of Americans were identified as living in poverty according to CNN.
You can read more about LBJ’S campaign on Politico.
By most accounts, the gap between rich and poor is growing. Cinema Libre Studio has released several social issue films (this is our specialty) that explore the growing gap between rich and poor in America.
Check a few of them out and let us know how the war on poverty should be re-addressed…
Do you think movies about poverty help change anything?
What’s the last film that started a conversation for you?
THE HARVEST/LA COSECHA (Documentary) exposes the hundreds of thousands of children working as migrant workers to provide food for not only their families, but the general population. Produced by Eva Longoria.
LOST ANGELS: SKID ROW IS MY HOME (Documentary), narrated by Catherine Keener, shares the stories of eight remarkable homeless individuals living on Los Angeles’ Skid Row, who were able to find a community and better lives.
NOW & LATER (Narrative) the story about an illegal Latina immigrant and a disgraced banker on the run who learn about each other’s way of life as they fall for one another. (Unrated and sexually explicit)
SAVE THE FARM (Documentary), featuring actress Daryl Hannah, introduces viewers to the largest urban farm in the United States which provided organic food and medicine to may of the area’s poor latino families before it was demolished to make way for more development.
LEMON (Documentary) is the true story of Brooklyn-based spoken word poet Lemon Anderson, an ex-con who becomes a poet, writing pieces that represent the feelings of millions of young men of color who are marginalized in our society. The film documents his rise from prison to the Public Theatre on Broadway in NYC.
And coming out on January 21st is Cinema Libre Studio’s next release, which looks at the loss of the American Dream through the foreclosure crises: FORWARD 13: WAKING UP THE AMERICAN DREAM.