Community & Youth Organizing Film Series 2024

The Community and Youth Organizing film series includes three documentaries, The Sun Rises in The EastThe Five Demands, and We Still Here/ Nos Tenemos, that illuminate how communities get their needs and desires met through collective action. All three films demonstrate youth and/or community organizing principles in action with examples from the heart of Bedstuy to CUNY’s City College to the streets of Puerto Rico.  

The Sun rises in The East films still
The Five Demands film still
We Still Here/Nos Tenemos film still

Each film screening will be held in person on CUNY SPS's Campus and is followed by an engaging conversation led by Professor Lumumba Bandele to help the audience digest the wisdom gleaned from these activists and apply the lessons to our current justice agendas.

NOTE: To accommodate all who wish to attend, the film screening will NOW be hosted as a virtual event via Zoom.

Join us!

The Sun Rises in The East

Running Time: 58 Minutes

Wednesday, January 10, 2024, 6:00 PM
Virtual via Zoom

The Sun Rises in The East chronicles the birth, rise and legacy of The East, a pan-African cultural organization founded in 1969 by teens and young adults in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Led by educator and activist Jitu Weusi, The East embodied Black self-determination, building dozens of institutions, including its own African-centered school, food co-op, newsmagazine, publishing company, record label, restaurant, clothing shop and bookstore.

The organization hosted world-famous jazz musicians and poets at its highly sought-after performance venue, and it served as an epicenter for political contemporaries such as the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords and the Congress of Afrikan People, as well as comrades across Africa and the Caribbean.

In effect, The East built an independent Black nation in the heart of Central Brooklyn. 

The Sun Rises in The East is the first feature-length documentary to explore this inspiring story. The film also examines challenges that led to the organization’s eventual dissolution, including government surveillance, its gender politics and financial struggles. Featuring interviews with leaders of The East, historians and people who grew up in the organization as children, The Sun Rises in The East delivers an exhilarating and compelling vision for just how much is possible.

The Five Demands is a riveting story about the student strike that changed the face of higher education forever. In April 1969, a small group of Black and Puerto Rican students shut down the City College of New York, an elite public university located in the heart of Harlem. Fueled by the revolutionary fervor sweeping the nation, the strike soon turned into an uprising, leading to the extended occupation of the campus, classes being canceled, students being arrested, and the resignation of the college president.

Through archival footage and modern-day interviews, we follow the students’ struggle against the institutional racism that, for over a century, had shut out people of color from this and other public universities. The Five Demands revisits the untold story of this explosive student takeover, and proves that a handful of ordinary citizens can band together to take action and affect meaningful change.

The Five Demands

Running Time: 1 Hour and 14 Minutes

Wednesday, January 17, 2024, 6:00 PM
Virtual via Zoom

We Still Here/ Nos Tenemos

Running Time: 54 Minutes

Wednesday, January 24, 2024, 6:00 PM
Virtual via Zoom

We Still Here introduces the incredible youth of Comerío, Puerto Rico navigating the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a disaster that brought an unprecedented level of devastation. In the lush mountains in the center of Puerto Rico, 24-year-old Mariangelie Ortiz leads a group of young residents who never thought they would become the leaders of their community, nonetheless find themselves traveling to Washington D.C. to protest in the halls of Congress. Follow them in this coming-of-age story to find their power and begin creating a sustainable future for themselves and their community.


Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele
Adjunct Lecturer, CUNY School of Professional Studies
and Organizer, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele is the Director of Community Organizing and Advocacy at the Alliance of Families for Justice. He briefly served as the director of Strategic Partnerships with Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) in 2020 and from 2011 to 2020 he served as the Director of Community Organizing at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He is a community organizer and educator from Central Brooklyn.

From 1994 – 1998 Lumumba served as programming coordinator at the Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCC). During his tenure at CCC, he also co-found Azabache, an organizers training conference and workshop series for young activists. All the while as a Black Studies Major at City College of NY/CUNY, he went on to receive his Masters in Human Service from Lincoln University in 1998. As a member and organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Mr. Akinwole-Bandele helped establish its campaign to counter police abuse and misconduct.

He also co-founded the world-renowned Black August Hip Hop Project. Black August raises awareness and support for political prisoners in the United States. From 2002 to 2007 Lumumba served as a counselor and lecturer at Medgar Evers College/CUNY. Over the years he has taught at Pratt Institute, City College of NY, Lehman College, San Francisco State University and currently serves as an adjunct lecturer teaching Community Organizing at CUNY School of Professional Studies.