America thinks they know about the Black Panthers. But just wait until they hear about the Rainbow Coalition.
The Rainbow Coalition was a broad coalition of diverse, freedom struggle organizations, from the Black Panthers and Young Lords to working class white groups like the Young Patriots. Standing in solidarity in their class struggle against economic and racial injustice, the group both challenged—and changed—the face of 1960s politics in Chicago, one of the most segregated cities in postwar America. Collectively confronting issues such as police brutality and substandard housing, the Rainbow Coalition is a little-known yet historically significant political group that paved the way for future generations of activists.
Told through rare archival footage and interviews with former Coalition members, filmmaker Ray Santisteban’s The First Rainbow Coalition took more than a decade to complete, and depicts the story of a powerful, multiracial movement and the enduring legacy it left behind. Although short-lived, it had an outsized impact: breaking down barriers between communities, the movement created a permanent shift in Chicago politics and an organizing model for upcoming activists and politicians across the nation.
On February 20, 2020, the Tenderloin Museum will host a limited screening of veteran filmmaker Ray Santisteban’s documentary film, The First Rainbow Coalition, as well as a director panel with original Rainbow Coalition members.
A donation-based event, attendees will also have the opportunity to contribute funds to the Fred Hampton house in Chicago, which is facing foreclosure.
About the Director:
Director/Producer Ray Santisteban has worked for the past twenty-six years as a documentary filmmaker, teacher, and film curator. His work consistently gravitates toward political subjects and artist profiles, addressing the themes of justice, memory, and political transfor!! so excited for thismation. A graduate of NYU’s film and TV production program, he has explored a variety of subjects including New York Black Panther leader Dhoruba Bin Wahad – Passin’ It On (Co-Producer), the roots of Puerto Rican poetry, Nuyorican Poets Cafe (1994, Director, Producer, Editor), Chicano poetry, Voices From Texas (Directed, Producer) and was Senior Producer of Visiones: Latino Art and Culture in the U.S. a three hour PBS series nationally broadcast in Oct. 2004. Awards garnered include: a 1992 Student Academy Award (information division), a 1996 “Ideas In Action” Award from the National Tele-Media Alliance, a 1996 “Faculty of the Year” Award from the Chicano Studies Program, UW Madison, a 2016 San Antonio Artists Foundation Filmmaker Award, and a 2016 Tobin Award for Artistic Excellence. Since 1998, he has been based in San Antonio, Texas.
About the Panelists:
Amy Sonnie is the co-author of “Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times,” the first book to explore the First Rainbow Coalition in depth. Her young adult anthology, Revolutionary Voices, recently joined hundreds of literary classics, children’s books and young adult favorites on American Library Association’s list of Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books.
Billy X Jennings is a founding member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. He is one of the most important independent archivist of Panthers and New Left history and runs the It’s About Time website.
More panelists TBA.
Proudly in partnership with DSA-SF’s AfroSocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus, Left Eye Cinema, and City College of San Francisco’s Labor and Community Studies Department.