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Documentaries to Watch for International Youth Day

By Sally Márquez

In celebration of International Youth Day on August 12, we’re highlighting five documentaries that showcase the (pre-COVID) lives of youth from the US and around the world.

We Are the Radical Monarchs (Linda Goldstein Knowlton)

Meet the Radical Monarchs, an Oakland-based alt-troop composed of young girls of color, with members earning badges for completing units on social justice, including being an LGBTQ ally, the environment and disability justice. An IDA-fiscally sponsored project, the film follows the first troop of Radical Monarchs for over three years until they graduate, and documents the co-founders' struggle to respond to the needs of communities across the US and grow the organization.

Watch: PBS


Which Way Home (Rebecca Camissa)

Each year, thousands of Latin American migrants travel hundreds of miles to the United States, with many making their way on the tops of freight trains. Roughly five percent of those traveling alone are children. This documentary tells the story of a group of  children who face the harrowing journey with enormous courage and resourcefulness. 

Watch: HBO


On the Way to School (Pascal Plisson)

Follow four children— Samuel, 11, from India; Zahira, 12, from Morocco; Jackson, 10; and Carlito, 11, from Argentina—as they travel great lengths to obtain their education.

Watch: Kanopy


The Homestretch (Kirsten Kelly and Anne de Mare)

The Homestretch follows three Chicago teens— Roque, Kasey and Anthony — as they fight to stay in school, graduate and create a new life while homeless. Their stories connect with larger issues of poverty, race, juvenile justice, immigration, foster care and LGBTQ rights.

Watch: YouTube


Becoming More Visible (Pamela French)

This documentary spotlights four diverse young transgender New Yorkers as they contend with family and societal expectations to become their true selves.

Watch: Kanopy