Chastity lives with her mother and three brothers in a homeless shelter in the Bronx. She’s trying to graduate high school. Her mother, who dropped out of school, explains: “She sees exactly what happens if you don’t have an education. She sees that. She loves school; thank god she loves school. . .”
Chastity’s story is featured in Part I of the Bernardo Ruiz documentary, “The Graduates,” which aired on PBS on Tuesday. The 55 minute video is now available to stream online in English and Spanish. Part I, titled “The Girls,” gives first-hand accounts of challenges facing Chastity and other Latinas who fight through discouragement, discrimination, poverty, pregnancy, and violence to receive their diplomas.
The film intersperses the girls’ stories with commentary from family members, school officials, social workers, activists, and San Antonio’s Mayor Julián Castro. The end result is an illuminating and genuine tearjerker that made this blogger grateful for his relatively cushy high school experience. Continue reading