Call for Change Series Page

Call for Change Series (2005)

The Call for Change Series series is a Third World Newsreel project which gathers the work of mediamakers producing short videos on communities of color and their efforts to make social change. The 2005 series mostly focused on NYC and communities of color's "state of America" during the 2004 electoral period, and topics ranged from the elections, the war on terror and its impact on human rights and immigrant life, to slavery reparations and the rights of domestic workers. The resulting series, produced by JT Takagi, is being broadly distributed and exhibited.

The hope of this project is to spark discussions throughout the nation's living rooms, classrooms and community groups on topical issues, while presenting the views and concerns of groups and communities often marginalized in mainstream media.

The Call for Change Series premiered at the BAM Rose Cinemas in October 2005 and is available for public screenings, community workshops and streaming. Some films, like Work and Respect, were updated in 2010 to reflect the Domestic workers' winning a Bill of Rights in NY state.

TWN solicited concepts and short proposals from filmmakers of color to document a struggle in their community - and the effort to make social change. It provided mentoring, production and post-production support, hired supervising editors and final post work. This was made possible in part by support from the Open Society Institute NYC Social Justice Fellowship Program, the Funding Exchange, and the North Star Fund. Some pieces were produced with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.


As part of the Homeland security measures, immigrant men from 25, mostly Muslim countries were required to enroll in a Special Registrationprogram. The result: no evidence of terror, but some 13,000 people are now being deported mostly for expired visas. The Alams were among the many families who believed that voluntarily participating in the Special Registrationwould show their loyalty. Instead, they face the prospect of breaking up their family, despite a decade of hard work and the raising of two children. Working with DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving), the Queens South Asian activist group, the Alams have become activists, organizing to fight for their right to stay.
Dir: Konrad Aderer 11 min. 2005
Interview with Filmmaker


A young NYC African American woman talks about what it means to define oneself as a Muslim today, and the concerns and crises of faith that she has like everyone else in the city.
Dir: Sam Pollard 4 minutes 2005


A restaurant owner beaten. A policeman fired. A 20 year subway conductor born in the U.S., threatened with job loss: All for wearing the signature turbans of their religion, Sikhism. Since 9/11, hate crimes and job losses have plagued the Sikh-American community, whose religion originated in India, and is not even Islamic. In response, the NYC Sikh community has organized to confront the bias and attacks, through legal suits, pressure on city officials and proactive public education. An introduction to an often misunderstood religion and the success of community activism.
Dir: Kevin Lee 11 minutes 2005
Interview with Sapreet Kaur, Executive Director, Sikh Coalition


The life and death of one of the first American casualties of the War against Terror - Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez, a 28 year old Guatemalan, who joined the Marines because "he wanted to give back a little bit to his adopted country" - and received his citizenship posthumously from President Bush. The contradictions and tragedies of being the "other" while fighting the "other".
Dir: Paul Barrera 10 min 2005


A "day in the life" of Ralph, a Palestinian-American grocery store owner, whose Brooklyn store is the neighborhood drop in center. As the 2004 election approached, Ralph reflected on being a Palestinian and on voting for the first time, while the neighborhood chimed in.
Dir: Clifton Watson 11 min. 2005


Over 200,000 women work in the homes of New Yorkers as housekeepers and nannies. Mostly women of color and often undocumented, their work is not covered by labor laws, and for many, the pay and conditions of work are beyond belief. The women are beginning to organize, though, to fight for a bill of rights. As one worker says: imagine if all 200,000 went on strike one day? Wall Street would have to shut down as families had to watch their own children.
Dir: Domestic Workers United 10 min. 2005

Interview with Barbara Young, NDWA


In February 2005, the NY City Council considered a bill that would require companies doing business with NY to investigate and reveal any past relationship to the slave trade. Though resisted by the NYC mayor, Chicago already passed such a law, resulting in JP Morgan Chase addressing its slave-based past. This short is a quick introduction to the history of New York's slave-based development, and why redress is due.
Dir: Leslie Brown 13:20 min. 2005


Three shorts featuring performances by some of New York Citys vanguard Latino poets: KILLKILLKILL by Jesus Papoleto Melendez (5 Min), GOD BLESS AMERICA by Mariposa (2 min), and TAMALES IN JANUARY by Carlo Baldi (3 min). From the war to police brutality to the contradictions of being a person of color in the U.S., these shorts are both lyrical and powerful.
Dir: Renata Gangemi and Ruben Gonzalez 2005


The pretty, almost impressionistic images of the subway belie the surveillance cameras and new search policies as riders respond to the heightened security measures.
Dir: Donna Golden (3 min) 2005


When the Republicans had their convention at Madison Square Garden, workers in the area from hotdog vendors to day laborers were directly affected. A short on the lives and thoughts of people working on the street and their relation to the political process.
Dir: JT Takagi and Herman Lew 13 min. 2005


Women, money and travel. It's still the hook that military recruiters are using on young men, as two students discover at a Queens recruitment office. A look at the military recruitment process through a mixture of performance and the experiences of two young men of color.
Dir: Al Santana and Alonzo Rico Speight 11 min 2005


Brian was recruited into the US Navy, much to his filmmaker sisters dismay. Pressured by a family history filled with those who served in uniform, as well as calls and visits from recruiters who offered college, he and his mother thought it made sense. But for two years he has been sweeping the decks of a ship, not allowed to attend classes or anything else. Morale on his ship is such that two sailors have already attempted suicide. What can he do?
Dir: Kamisha S. 7:41 min. 2005


Toni Blackman and the FreeStyle Union are challenging the male dominated world of hip hop and empowering women to speak their minds in freestyle workshops. This is a music video/documentary that speaks to building a movement of female mcs.
Dir: JT Takagi 7 min 2005
Interview with Toni Blackman


Post 9/11, Wanda Imueson, a Harlem raised believer in the American Dream, found herself jobless and going to the welfare office. The humiliation of her treatment and the persistent efforts of the women at FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality), led Wanda to become an activist and speaker and to recruit other women to empower themselves.
Dir: Miriam Perez 10 min. 2005

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TWN acknowledges that in New York we are on the unceded territory of the Lenni Lenape, Canarsie, Shinecock, and Munsee peoples and challenges the harm that continues to be inflicted upon Indigenous and People of Color communities here and abroad, which is why we all need to be part of the struggle for rights, equality and justice.

TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Color Congress, MOSAIC, New York Community Trust, Peace Development Fund, Humanities NY, Ford Foundation, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and individual donors.