PEOPLE COUNT: URBAN WARRIORS
Half of the world’s population lives in cities and by the year 2025, three out of four people will call a city home. In light of current urban problems, Barbara Pyle travels from the South Bronx to the island of Puerto Rico, meeting people who are waging war against community destruction.
The struggle in San Juan’s Cantera Peninsula is just beginning and it is being fought against the major obstacles of violence, poverty and pollution. Pyle meets long-time resident and teacher Jose “Chago” Santiago, who helped start the Cantera Peninsula Project. Now, the residents are banding together to reclaim neighborhoods that were once beautiful. One of the first to become involved in the project is a former gang member and drug dealer. With Chago’s help, he is a role model for kids and is active in the community clean up.
In New York’s South Bronx we meet Yolanda Rivera, Director of Banana Kelly, an organization that helped lift the South Bronx from the ashes of a virtual war zone to a vibrant and productive community. Banana Kelly purchases buildings and homes in the South Bronx and then renovates them. The organization teaches residents skills that are in turn used to rebuild the area and help them find jobs. Banana Kelly is now working to combine environmental issues and massive job creation with the building of the Bronx Community Paper Company, developed with the assistance of Allen Hershkowitz, a scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In the forest of Puerto Rico, Pyle finds a modern farming technique being applied by the Reyes family. Hydroponics, the method of growing vegetables in water through pipes, was introduced by renowned economist and social worker Dr. Antonia Pentoja.. She retired to a remote mountainside village, only to be enlisted by the people of Cubuy as a leader in a community improvement project called Producir.
Produced for the United Nations City Summit (Istanbul)
- US International Film and Video Festival - Silver Screen Award 1996
- CINE Golden Eagle, Council on International Non-theatrical Events 1996