Time of the Phoenix: The First Rainbow Coalition

The history and legacy of a groundbreaking multiethnic alliance of community groups that changed the face of 1960s Chicago politics.

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Santisteban ray filmmaker bio
Producer/Director

Ray Santisteban

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 transformation. A graduate of NYU’s film and TV production program, he has explored a variety of subjects Show more 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. Show less

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The Film

In 1969, the Chicago Black Panther Party began to form alliances across lines of race and ethnicity with other community-based movements in the city, including the Latino group the Young Lords Organization and the southern whites of the Young Patriots organization. Banding together in one of the most segregated cities in postwar America to collectively confront issues such as police brutality and substandard housing, they called themselves the Rainbow Coalition. By 1973, the coalition had collapsed under the weight of relentless harassment by local and federal law enforcement. Although short-lived, it had an outsize impact: Breaking down barriers between communities, it created a permanent shift in Chicago politics and an organizing model for future activists and politicians across the nation. Time of the Phoenix: The First Rainbow Coalition tells the movement’s little-known story through rare archival footage and interviews with former coalition members.

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