Monsters (Los Monstruos)
Genre: Documentary | Produced In: 2014 | Story Teller’s Country: United States
Synopsis: “I shouldn’t be alive right now,” says Leila Mendez as she looks out her window at the smokestacks billowing just across the way. “And I am.” Leila believes that God spared her life so she could stay here and fight: to shut them down.
An estimated 42 people a year have been killed in Chicago by the Fisk and Crawford coal-burning plants, two of the oldest remaining in the US. Leila, who has lived 4 blocks from the Fisk since she was 9 years old, knew nothing about this until she herself got cancer. Since her health struggle began in 1998, she has worked tirelessly to shut down these plants, which she comes to realize disproportionately affect people of color. Slowly her struggle gains national and international attention – “They finally realized it wasn’t just a little group of Mexicans that were gonna fight them; it was a whole group of people.”
“I was raised to believe in David and Goliath,” she says. “That you can slay the giant.” This documentary follows Leila over several years – through triumphs and setbacks – and above all is testimony to the power of hope. “We’ve been having the demonstrations, the forums, the vigils. And we’ll keep having them. Because you just do.” Leila’s undying determination is an inspiration to us all.