Boston Globe: 'How Trump got it wrong about Lawrence'

Image courtesy Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

Image courtesy Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

President Trump was in New Hampshire Monday speaking about his plans to combat the opioid epidemic, when he called Lawrence, and other sanctuary cities, “safe havens for just some terrible people,” particularly opioid pushers and MS-13 gang members."

Spare Change News editor Alejandro Ramirez wrote a wonderful response to Trump's comments in today's Boston Globe. He traces Lawrence's economic decline and its history of racial animosity. See link to full article below:

It’s reminiscent of what some of the white kids would say back in high school — a Catholic school located in Lawrence but filled with students from (usually more affluent) surrounding towns. I’ve heard it all: Lawrence is full of drugs, crime, and, worst of all, immigrants — immigrants who pushed drugs and guns and danger.
Lawrence’s problems are well-documented, and its economic woes can be traced back to the 1940s. But no one ever talks about the history of Lawrence, how we can trace the decades of decline to its current struggles. Instead, Lawrence is discussed through white and xenophobic lenses that blame immigrants. Before the incoming waves of Latino migrants in the ’60s and ’70s, the mostly-white Lawrence was already suffering from abandonment and unemployment. The decline started when textile mills started to leave town in the late 1940s, and worsened when the city missed out on the suburban growth and early electronics boom that affected other towns along Route 128.
By the ’70s, a new wave of migrants, mostly from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, had settled in the city. They moved into homes abandoned by white people and took jobs in the factories and mills that remained. White Lawrencians were hostile to the new migrants. In 1984, two nights of riots and fire erupted after whites vandalized a Latino-owned store; a few white kids told The New York Times that the rioting was “strictly racial” and they “hoped there would be more trouble.”

MI CASITA at Salem Film Fest Pitch 2018!

Our team has been invited to 2018 Salem Film Fest to pitch to a live audience and panel of industry and media members. The winner of "The Doc-a-chusetts Pitch" receives $5000 in post-production finishing services from Modulus Studios.

The pitch will take place Saturday, March 23rd at 10am at the Peabody Essex Museum in downtown Salem.

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Another week of filming: the race for Lawrence city council

Last week in Lawrence we followed Fran and his partner Elissa who are campaigning together for seats on the city council and school committee. Here, Fran secures a handmade sign in downtown Lawrence that he and Elissa made for $20 using a tarp and white duct tape — they are grassroots, through and through. As election day approaches (the preliminary election is September 26th, followed by the general election November 6th), they decided to invest in professionally printed banners, which they designed and put up all over town since we last were there. Onwards!

Quick shoot at the Made in Lawrence Film Festival

Last night we made an impromptu trip to Lawrence to film with Fran at an event he was hosting, the 2nd annual Made in Lawrence "Clout" Film Festival. The outdoor screening, free and open to the public, showcased 13 shorts all by Lawrence-native filmmakers, and was organized by Made in Lawrence, a program of Lawrence Community Works, and supported by the Essex Art Center

For Fran, who co-founded Made in Lawrence last year, it's about more than giving young filmmakers from diverse backgrounds a forum for their work; it's about creating community, and reclaiming Lawrence's narrative: 

"This is real community... What we do is we make films about the people of Lawrence, and their stories, and their struggles, and try to create a new image for the city of Lawrence. Because right now we have a bad image problem. But that's not the truth. Because look at us– we're united, we're smart, we're beautiful, and we're very artistic. And this is what we're proving."

According to co-host and filmmaker Elissa Salas, they had expected a crowd of around 30 to show up. By the time the sun had set, more than 130 people were in attendance.

Mi Casita Awarded LEF Foundation Pre-Production Funding

The LEF Foundation has just announced this year's LEF Moving Image Fund Pre-Production grantees, and Mi Casita is one of them! This $5,000 grant will help us recuperate early development stage costs and pave the way forward to get principle shooting underway. We are honored to have LEF's support!

From LEF's July 27 Press Release:

The LEF Foundation has just announced 6 grants totaling $30,000 in pre-production funding to New England-based independent documentary filmmakers.

The LEF Moving Image Fund invests in innovative feature-length documentary films that demonstrate excellence in technique, strong storytelling ability, and originality of artistic vision and voice.

“As a small family foundation and as a local funder,” said LEF Executive Director Lyda Kuth, “the preproduction stage is a critical point at which to invest in the process of story development and artistic experimentation, and to encourage future support from other funders. Our hope is that these grants help each team accomplish some of their initial goals, like travel, research, and discovering the look and feel of the film.”

The directors awarded grants in this round include both first-time and returning LEF grantees. These filmmakers are pursuing subject matter throughout the United States and around the world, from Turkey to the Rio Grande, from Michigan to South Carolina, and close to home in New England. Additionally, these grantees take on a variety of approaches to the documentary form, including projects that are character-driven, observational, personal, immersive, participatory, and archival.