from their press release...
“Street Soldiers: Uniting to Rebuild Our Community One Block at a Time”
Boston film premiere spotlights The Young Men from Upham’s Corner trying to change their lives and community for the better.
June 30, 2006, 7:30 pm
Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Road, Dorchester, MA
On Friday, June 30th, a remarkable documentary will be released at the Strand Theatre. Street Soldiers: Uniting to Rebuild Our Community One Block At A Time is a documentary about young men trying to change their lives and their community for the better. Without exploiting violence, the film provides information for families and community leaders to better understand what life is like for our young people who live in the urban neighborhoods of Boston. This film outlines how and why young, promising men from our communities become involved in gang violence and how difficult it is to distance themselves from the chaos that is consuming all of our lives. This film centers around young men on their journey towards redemption, one of them being Mario Rodrigues. They leave us with a burning question, how can we as a community take better care of all our children?
Mario arrived in Dorchester from Cape Verde in 1981. Ever since, he has been around gangs and violence. Something as simple as going to school without an altercation became impossible. Then crack entered the inner city and the streets turned into a concrete battlefield, fueling the creation of the first Cape Verdean gang (C.V.P) in Boston. Mario wanted to follow in their footsteps. In his early teens, along with several others, Mario helped create another gang, comprised of Cape Verdeans but also including African Americans, Jamaicans, Latinos, Haitians, and Asians.
Then the day came when one Cape Verdean was accused of murdering another. Both were friends of Mario. Now friends started choosing sides and the violence escalated. More friends were lost to prison, homicides, and deportations. There seemed to be no end to the retaliation—and the pain. Gang members fought continuously and yet many grew tired of the violence and destruction. But no one could seem to see a way out. Then Ernesto Monell, Mario’s longtime friend and gang associate—and the murder of Claudio Cardoso, another friend—convinced him it was time to bring people together and start talking.
Today Mario prays for forgiveness and for the support of the community.
This film is not only about Mario’s life but the lives of many inner
city children, not only about gangs but the victims, not only about
Cape Verdeans but numerous of other nationalities. The film is also
about the efforts of many young men trying to rebuild their
community—the very same young men who once were destroying it.
For more information or to purchase tickets for the viewing please call K.D at 617-825-1917.
A portion of the proceeds will go towards Survivors Outreach Services Program and the Floorlords Youth Program.