September 9, 2019
Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University presents the 2018 PBS documentary film “The Pushouts” Sept. 18 at 1 p.m. in the Highlands Student Center Theater at 800 National Ave. The free film concerns the life of Victor Rios, a high school dropout and gang member who went on to become a professor and author.
Directed by Katie Galloway, “The Pushouts” is described as a hard-knocks story told with an unusual degree of hope and inspiration, systematic critique and aesthetic nuance.
Cast member Martín Flores will be at the screening and will lead a conversation at the end of the film. Flores works as a gang expert on criminal and immigration cases throughout the state of California.
“I think the most important message in this film is that mentoring and investing in young people can make a major positive impact on their lives,” Flores said. “‘The Pushouts’ shows examples of having faith in yourself and leaning upon the support of your peers.”
Flores said “The Pushouts” validates the fact that young people who have been written off have the potential to be major players in their communities, giving the example of Victor Rios.
While the term “school dropouts” is employed in national statistics, the documentary instead uses “pushouts” to describe youth, especially Latino and Black students, who do not graduate and are pushed into low-paying jobs and sometimes become incarcerated in the criminal justice system.
Youth featured in the film are from South Central Los Angeles in the Watts neighborhood. They are participants in a program called “Yo!Watts” that Rios led for at-risk youth.
“This film provides a venue that can lead educators, students and community leaders. I hope there will be a large presence from the Highlands campus and Las Vegas community where we can benefit from the dialogue,” Flores said.
The Thomas C. Donnelly Library at Highlands is co-hosting “The Pushouts” along with New Mexico PBS.
“I’m very happy that this program is coming to Highlands,” said April Kent, Donnelly librarian and head of public services. “It will give students and community members a chance to engage with an important subject and discuss it with a well-known activist.”
“The Pushouts” is the winner of a number of awards such as Best Documentary in the 2018 Imagen Awards, 2018 winner of the Chicago Media Project Impact prize, and Best Documentary winner in the 2018 Berkeley Video and Film Festival.