“Millie and the Lords,” a film by Jennica Carmona, tells the story of a young Puerto Rican girl growing up on the streets of Spanish Harlem. Millie was forced to grow up on her own and struggles to survive every day, facing violence, discrimination, and poverty. An avid reader, Millie fantasizes about going away to college and becoming a writer. But in her world, this is not a realistic goal. With no one on her side, she is resigned to living in the projects of El Barrio for the rest of her life. But then, Millie meets Mateo, a caring older man who rescues Millie from danger and takes her under his wing. Mateo is a former Young Lord, and he shares with Millie all of his knowledge and experiences with this Puerto Rican revolutionary group. His encouragement and belief in Millie give her a sense of possibility that she never had before. Little by little, Millie’s life begins to change. Her grades improve, she initiates improvement in her community, she becomes a mentor to fellow students. Following the model of the Young Lords, she reaches out to her peers and becomes a leader in the fight for social justice in her community.
- Noemi Figueroa