Poverty and Homelessness: The Underlying Issue in the World

The film that I chose to watch for this media blog is called The Families Forced into Homelessness: No Place to Call Home.This documentary was published on March 7, 2019 by Real Stories. This film is based off of poverty and becoming homeless from it. Although this film is based off of the location in London, it still applies to our country. I say this because homelessness and poverty is something that is being dealt with all over the world and it is important that we as a society understand that this is a universal problem. In this documentary, two families end up evicted by their landlords. They must deal with a year of homelessness and switching from house to house to stay with their friends and family. The families presented in this documentary are single mothers with young children. The children have to ride a wave of homelessness, while trying to face unexpected changes daily.

In the documentary, the mothers were faced with challenges on how they have children that are still in school and they are becoming homeless. These challenges that were faced were on how they were going to get to school when they are moved so far away from it and if they are still going to be able to attend school. A reading that we discussed in class stated, “According to the U.S. Department of Education, almost 1.4 million school children experienced homelessness during the 2016-2017 school year. Some of these children were among the estimated 4.4 million poor people in 2017 who were temporarily sleeping on the floors or couches of family or friends because they could not afford their own housing,” (National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, 2019, p. 28). This is a huge issue in our world today where there needs to be a change. School is an important factor in every child’s life where they need to start early on and continue. How are they supposed to attend school when they’re homeless? They simply can’t, or at least get the correct education.

A key point addressed numerous times in this documentary was poverty. Poverty in the world is a crisis that has been ongoing for years. Living in poverty is something one will never understand unless they go through it themselves. After reading and learning about poverty in homelessness, it gave me more understanding of it all. In the book, Not a Crime to be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America, it is mentioned, “We have to turn the coin over and provide prenatal care for all, child development for all children, first- class education for all, decent jobs and effective work supports, affordable housing, health lawyers as needed, safe neighborhoods, no violence on the street or at home, healthy communities, economic, social, racial and gender justice, and justice rather than charity,” (Edelman, 2017, p. 183). I couldn’t agree more with this statement. After seeing the daily struggles of what these families had to go through for months, it made me realize how important these struggles can affect people and what they can do to someone’s life.

Another key point presented in this film is the court and law when dealing with homelessness and poverty. As many aspects in class we discussed how race in courts is an issue that our world deals with. In this documentary, it was discussed how the court blamed the mother of being intentionally homeless (the mother was African American). This is a big issue in the criminal justice system. Nobody has intentions to be homeless. In my opinion, the judge stating that to the bother should have been working on ways to get her and her children to be safe and find them a home.

This documentary gave me a better understanding to the real struggles in daily lives to homelessness and poverty and how it can affect a human being. It also gave me a better visual understanding to what we have been learning in our readings and discussions in class. In this documentary, it helped me relate a lot of the statistics and facts that we have learned in our readings and helped demonstrate what really goes on when someone is homeless and struggling mentally and physically.

I would recommend this documentary not only because of how eye opening it is, but how much someone can learn from watching it. It makes you want to help these people struggling and make we as a society make a difference in the world so people don’t have to go through this anymore. Thankfully, the families in this documentary were able to find peace and a home eventually, but it was still an experience that they will have to deal with in their everyday lives mentally. It makes you realize how truly blessed you are in life.

















Edelman, P.B. (2017). Not a Crime to be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America(p.

183). New York. The New York Press.

National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. (2019). Housing not handcuffs: Ending the

criminalization of homelessness & Poverty(p. 28). Retrieved from http://nlchp.org/wpcontent/uploads/2019/12HOUSING-NOT-HANDCUFFS-2019-FINAL.pdf

Link for film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1IziIrfCp4

The Reality of the Criminal Justice System

The movie I chose to watch for this media blog is Crime + Punishment.Crime + Punishment is a Hulu original documentary by Stephen Ming. The documentary revolves around the New York Police Department, which is the largest police organization in America. There are a dozen former cops who speak about how their quotas are outlawed and are pushing for a number of arrests. New York City had banned quotas on arrests and summonses, but a group of 12 minority police officers filed a class-action lawsuit against the New York Police Department saying that there are still illegal and continued uses of quotas. The documentary shows numerous citizens that speak about their experiences with the NYPD and how its corrupt. It also shows numerous recordings from cops and lawyers. It shows

Stop and frisk is one key point that was presented in this film. In the documentary, it showed a man named Pedro Hernandez that was charged with a shooting and held on Rikers Island. Hernandez did not commit the crime and hired a private investigator to be on his case. This goes into the NYPD program as a “broken windows” policy that would allow police officers to stop and frisk the people that fit the description of a crime. This is how Hernandez appeared a suspect of the crime. Most people that were under investigation of the crime were considered black or Latino.

This stop and frisk allegation that happened to Hernandez had come up with the issue of how the system is relying on a specific number of arrests and summonses every month. This relates to our readings in class. We learned, “In 2013, a federal district court ruled the NYPD Stop and Frisk policy unconstitutional as it violated ‘the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the law and also the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures,’” (Walker, 2018, p. 177).

Another key point presented in the documentary was how cops are pressured to arrest and summon minorities in New York City. The film shows how police officers target low income communities, they constantly are trying to harass citizens for low-level charges that are usually dismissed for lack of probable cause, and make money for their police department for fines and fees. I think this can be related to racial profiling. In Policing the Black Man,it is discussed, “On the narrowest end of the spectrum, racial profiling is understood to include only the conduct of police officers who consciously view black men as suspicious for no reason other than race,” (Hutchins’, 2018, p. 96). This statement made me realize how the police officers are forced to go in low income communities-where a lot of African Americans and Latinos reside, to try to make reasonable cause and suspicion on these citizens; which would be racial profiling. The documentary also made mention to Ferguson Report and the killing of Eric Garner, as we read in Policing the Black Man.

As we have discussed in class discussions about what we need to do to end racial profiling, stop and frisk, and other racial crimes relating to police officers, this documentary shows how the officers and communities are fighting for what they believe is right; even if it means they have to risk their careers. After watching the film, it made me realize that we as a society need to be taking more precautions as well to stop what is happening in the criminal justice system and take actions ourselves. I think the higher up authorities need to be focusing more on this and ending it.

This documentary brought people’s attention to the reality of what is happening in the NYPD. I think it was important to show this to the world because since NYPD is the biggest in America, that means that other police departments are following in their footsteps. It shows how we as a society need to be taking action, as well. Since twelve of the police officers that were taking action with filing a law suit were all minorities, I think that gave a better insight on how they would like to take actions themselves. They didn’t go into the field to arrest people purposely and get their number of arrests up like a game, they want to protect citizens and the communities.

I would recommend this film because it gave me more insight on what is happening in our criminal justice system. It also gave me better understanding to our class readings and discussions. It gives a more realistic take on the circumstances that are happening that we don’t necessarily see. It helps you visually put together what we have discussed in class and what we have read. It makes you want to make an ideal of equal justice under the law close to a reality.
















Hutchins’, R. (2018). Racial Profiling: The Law, the Policy, and the Practice. In A. J. Davis,

Policing the Black Man: Arrest Prosecution, and Imprisonment(p. 96). Vintage Books.

Walker, S., Spohn, C. DeLone, M. (2018). The Color of Justice; Race, Ethnicity, and Crime

in America. Cengage Learning.

Mass Incarceration as the Modern Day Slavery

The media source I chose to watch was a documentary called 13th. This film shows the history starting from 1865 when slavery was abolished. It shows the connection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States. This documentary shows that mass incarceration is an extension of slavery. The film gave insight on how poorly African Americans have been treated throughout the years and it hasn’t gotten better. It showed the daily struggles of African Americans from slavery, lynching, segregation, and more. It also discussed how life truly was after the Civil War. It was very eye opening to me because it truly gave an understanding on how unfair and corrupt our criminal justice system is.

A key point discussed in the documentary was Jim Crow laws. As we have discussed in the readings, Jim Crow laws legalized racial segregation. The film showed the horrific times of segregation and how black people were not allowed education, beaches, on busses, and more. I could tell that they were fighting for their freedom like African Americans still are to this day. As the book, Policing the Black Man, mentions, “Black people in this nation should be afforded the same protection, safety, and opportunity to thrive as anyone else. But, alas, that won’t happen until we confront our history and commit to engaging the past that continues to haunt us,” (Davis 2018). This quote has stuck to me because it shows that even after watching the documentary, African Americans still don’t have the justice they deserve and the protection like every American should have. I also believe this quote is true because in order for there to be justice, we need to be discussing the horrific times that happened in our past in order to realize that everyone deserves equal no matter what the color of your skin is or what ethnicity you are.

Another key idea presented in this documentary was the mass incarceration in the United States. It discussed how prisons don’t want to drop people, and how the prisons run off an economic model. They showed the criminal justice system talking about taking people out of prisons, and putting them on parole with a GPS tracking device. Like mentioned in the documentary though, these people are still making a profit from the GPS tracking device and colored people are still being locked up on constant surveillance with no freedom in their own communities. The mass incarceration in America is unreal. NAACP states in their statistics, “Today, the United States makes up about 5% of the world’s population and has 21% of the world’s prisoners,” (NAACP). This biggest problem is that African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites.

African Americans being incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites has a big connection from the war on drugs. As discussed in class, national data on use of drugs suggest whites are more likely than either African Americans or Hispanics to have ever used a variety of drugs, yet state prosecutors are more likely to refer racial minorities to the federal system for prosecution for sale of crack cocaine and sentences were much harsher under federal law for them. This takes me back to the incident with Clarence Aaron in our reading, Policing the Black Man. Aaron was a black college student who had no criminal record and was present for the sale of cocaine and was paid by the dealer. Aaron was testified in court and he was sentenced to three terms of life imprisonment in federal prison. Luckily enough, Aaron received a sentence communication from President Obama after the twenty years in prison he had already served. This documentary related to Aaron’s situation in our reading in many ways. It showed how unequal blacks are treated when it comes to the war on drugs. It also showed how harsh their punishments are compared to whites. As the documentary described it as whites just getting a “slap on the wrist” when it comes to getting in trouble with drugs.

In conclusion, this film was very eye opening. I would recommend it not only for the insight on the history that is discussed in the film, but for a realization on mass incarceration and African Americans daily lives in the world and in prisons. Not only has this been happening for years, but it’s still happening in today’s society. This documentary made me realize how we as a society need to work together and create a better equalization in the world for all races.






















“Criminal Justice Fact Sheet.” NAACP,https://www.naacp.org/criminal-justice-fact-sheet/.

Davis, Angela J. Policing the Black Man; Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment. Vintage

Books, a Division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2018.

DuVernay, Ava, director. 13th. Netflix Official Site, 7 Oct. 2016, https://www.netflix.com/watch/80091741?trackId=13752289&tctx=1%2C1%2C106d69c7826aa8794f492091b67625fc0f788886%3A319e09427277a35300e888f6a0bdfca48620d662%2C%2C

Illegal Immigration Crisis

The media source I chose to watch was a documentary called Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis by The New York Times. This short film was based off thousands of children fleeing from Central America to Mexico to then get to the United States, illegally. In the documentary, these children were filmed to show how they go about this process to try to escape. These young children (ages 19 and under) leave their families homes, without telling them, to try to escape the drugs, violence, and corruption. This film gave insight to how thousands of people are struggling in these countries and what they have to go through in their everyday lives. They do not feel safe and try to flee to America for a better life; whether it is a safer alternative through the route they have to take, or not.

One of the key points presented in this documentary was how corrupt governments truly are. After watching the film, it made me feel empathy for many of these people struggling to get to the United States for a better life. The film showed how the gangs and police work with each other and how the police basically protect the gangs. Many kids were shown huffing glue right in front of police, and nothing was done. People do this to pass the time by and so that they’re not truly “living” in the world with what they are surrounded by. How could one not blame another for doing things they do to get somewhere for protection, better rights, jobs, involving families, education and more?

When we discussed in class what comes to mind when we think of immigration, the first thought that came to my mind was “the wall” and how the United States is trying to protect us from these illegal immigrants coming over. In reality, and what was shown in the documentary, these young children are just trying to make a better life for themselves. They want to protect themselves and their families. They walked miles, crossed through rivers, and tried to stay hidden from the border protection patrol. If they get caught, gangs could take their families and make them do horrific acts, and even worse acts. This shows how desperate these individuals are and the risk they are willing to take to try to get across the border without getting caught.

Statistics show that apprehensions of people crossing on the Southwest border illegally peaked in 2000 at 1.64 million and have generally declined since, totaling 396,579 in 2018 (Illegal Immigration Statistics). There are most likely more undocumented attempts to how many people have tried to cross the border illegally, as well that may have gotten caught by gangs, etc. It was shown in the documentary that others help individuals on crossing over. They gave these young children shelter and food before they took off in the long journey. This documentary showed how much effort into their lives they put into just getting to the states.

Another key point discussed in the documentary were individuals getting deported who lived in America for years. These people had to start their lives over again, getting sent back home through busses back to Mexico, some either who have over stayed their green card, did not even know they were not a U.S. citizen (from being there since birth) and some for minor charges while not being a citizen. This is in relation to our discussion on crimmigration laws in class. The crimmigration article writes, “Today, an aggravated felony includes theft, use of false documents, and failure to appear in court, as well as rape and murder,” (Menjivar 5). These are all regards into immigrants who commit these crimes, and must be deported. People in the United States commit some of these crimes (theft) every day and do not get treated the way these immigrants do.

After watching this documentary, I have gain a lot more insight on illegal immigration. I recommend this documentary because it has led me to feel more empathy for these innocent people and their lives. I believe more needs to be done to avoid these individuals from crossing over illegally, whether it would be from the United States itself from making it easier to get a green card to come over to states. Another possible solution could be government changes in other countries. I feel compassion for these individuals that fear for their lives every day in their own countries and not feeling welcomed by other countries. Sometimes some take living in America for granted and this documentary should be a reminder on why we should always be thankful we have protection, education, and the success that we do in the United States.



















Menjivar, Cecilia, Gomez Cervantes A, Alvord D. “The Expansion of ‘Crimmigration, Mass Detention, and Deportation.” Sociology Compass. 2018.

Robertson, Lori. “Illegal Immigration Statistics.” FactCheck.org, 7 June 2019.


Documentary Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxF0t-SMEXA&t=512s

The Daily Life in Poverty

The media source I chose to watch was a documentary called How Poor People Survive in the United States of America. This documentary is based off of the homeless people in the U.S. and what they do to survive in their everyday lives. This short documentary followed Americans in different states and cities in the United States. These places include Los Angeles California, Richmond Virginia, Roanoke Virginia, and Texas. The film gave insight to how much the homeless struggle every day, even by working everyday of their lives while living in their cars, or even on the side of the streets. It was very eye opening to me as they even showed at the end of the documentary a program that was created for people to spend a day in the life as being homeless. Many of the people could not survive and made them realize they couldn’t live in the life below the poverty line like millions of Americans do every day.

One of the key points presented in this documentary was that poverty can affect millions of Americans in their daily lives in the blink of an eye. There were many people in this documentary working full time jobs, had a beautiful home, married, and one day lost it all. For example, a guy named Eric, once had a full time job as a computer engineer, and one day lost his job. He had struggled being able to keep up with his bills and fell below the poverty line: making him homeless. Once having his own home and a full time job, he is now living in his car, working as an Uber driver, and getting leftover pizza from a restaurant that keeps it in their showcase every day. Another key point that the documentary pointed out was the lack of healthcare that people receive and physical insecurity. There were short clips in the documentary where they showed a free healthcare service to the homeless that only happens once a year for them to get the care they need. This is just basic healthcare, of course, but it made a huge difference in these humans lives. The amount of physical insecurity also was pointed out many times within the documentary. These homeless people feel insecure wishing they weren’t judged by others for trying to get back on their feet and even how they look every day. When people got the dental care they needed in the documentary (a pair of dentures) they were so grateful they were crying and it was very eye opening to realize how blessed (we) are to be able to have the proper hygiene we do to take care of ourselves and not have to be in (their) shoes.

This documentary also showed how lower class people are treated compared to the middle and upper class- very poorly. For example, when a landlord evicts someone from their apartment for rent being past due. In Virginia, the landlord has the right to begin the eviction process if rent is late by 5 days. People may be waiting for paychecks, or there may be other things going on in their lives causing the rent to be due. The documentary showed sheriffs coming into a woman’s home without her being there, and allowing the landlord to change the locks with her belongings still in there. The woman showed up later and the Sherriff asked where she was going to go and she had no idea: causing her to be homeless in just one day. There is a lot of discrimination and inequality when it comes to homeless people- giving them a reputation that many don’t have.

When we discussed in class what comes to mind when we think of homeless people, the first thing I thought of was them begging for money, or even faking it. This documentary showed how much homeless people actually struggle in their daily lives and opens up your view that you really should not ignore it and do your best to help these people. Doing something so little for someone on the streets can go a long way. We who are fortunate must never dismiss the unfortunate.

Edelman writes, “Rich people make bail; poor people don’t. Regardless of actual guilt or innocence, poor people are criminalized for their inability to buy their way out of jail,” (Edelman 2019). This quote relates to this documentary in many ways. The documentary points out how many homeless people have to commit illegal crimes in order to survive. This includes sleeping on the sidewalks in tents or across people’s homes where they live, digging in the trash for food, and even begging for food. These illegal acts can cause these homeless people to get arrested-which also brings back to what we talked about in class: more homeless people are arrested than housed people. If these homeless people are arrested for doing the acts they did in order to survive-how are they supposed to pay the bail to get out of jail.

This documentary gave me more understanding and insight into the lives of homeless people. The organizations that were included in this film gave me more hope in humanity by showing what they do every day to help these people. I believe to help this poverty, we as a society should show support and create more programs to help those in need. I recommend this documentary because it sheds light on the struggles and made me appreciate all that I have.







Edelman, P.B. (2019). Not a crime to be poor: the criminalization of poverty in America. New York: The New Press.