October 26, 2007

Documentary “Latino Stories of World War II” Addresses Exclusion of Latinos in PBS Film

The San Diego Public Library will host a film showing of the documentary “Latino Stories of World War II” in the 3rd floor auditorium of the Central Library on November 5, 2007 at 6:30 PM. This event is FREE to the public. Mario Barrera, director of the documentary, and Jorge Mariscal, Ph.D., will lead a discussion after the film presentation.

During World War II, Latinos served in disproportionate numbers, joining every branch of military service, and fighting bravely and with distinction in both the European and Pacific theatres, often on the front lines of some of the bloodiest battles of the war. Twelve Latinos received the Medal of Honor, America’s most prestigious award for valor, and thousands of young Latinos died or were wounded defending America’s freedoms.

Our Latino World War II era veterans are now in their 70s and 80s, and leaving us at an accelerating rate. Soon their sacrifices defending America, all too often taken for granted are in danger of being forgotten entirely.

As a result of the Public Broadcasting System’s failure to include their stories in Ken Burns’ “The War”, Defend the Honor, a national Latino organization, has mobilized thousands of supporters across the country to demand a voice and participation in the use of taxpayers’ funds for public broadcasting. Their strategy is three-pronged: demanding redress, producing alternatives, and educating. A local instance of this strategy has been through the mobilization of a southern California branch of Defend the Honor, which includes Imperial, San Diego and Orange counties.

Unable to convince KPBS to postpone its September 23 premiere airing of “The War” until the issue of Latino exclusion from it was resolved, Southern California Defend the Honor is producing alternatives to KPBS’s exclusion. They intend to begin educating the public about Latino contributions, as well as of the true nature of WWII, arguably the most horrendous bloodletting in human history, through a showing of Dr. Mario Barrera’s “Latino Stories of World War II”

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