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Clarissa’s Battle 2022


Distributed by Good Docs
Produced by Tamara Perkins and Sara Maamouri
Directed by Tamara Perkins
Streaming, 89 mins

College - General Adult
Education; Parenting; Poverty; Social Movements; Social Problems

Date Entered: 03/06/2023

Reviewed by Giovanna Colosi, Librarian for the School of Education, Subject Instruction Lead, Syracuse University

In the United States 14 million children are eligible for childcare subsidies, and only about 1.9 million of those receive funding for childcare. This documentary follows Clarissa Doutherd, who herself is a single mother turned activist after the birth of her son experienced a financial hardship and she vowed to never have that happen to other women. The film emphasizes the point that for children to have the best possible chance for success in school is to have a solid early start from the ages of 0-3 and how crucial it is to provide this to ALL children, not just those who are wealthy or in two-parent households.

The documentary highlights how difficult to near impossible it is for women color and low-income women to be able to be able to provide childcare and basic needs for their children while they try to look for jobs to be able to get on their feet. The film focuses on the community of Alameda County in California and Clarissa’s efforts on trying to begin a pilot program to help gain funding for childcare, housing, and early-education. We see Clarissa at hearings, election rooms, canvassing city streets and rallies from Oakland, California to Washington, DC. Throughout the documentary the viewer is shown statistics on how this is not only a California State issue but a national issue.

There are hints throughout the first half of the film that perhaps Clarissa is not taking care of herself health-wise, and we see how that plays out in the latter half of the film. We also see how the pandemic, which began during shooting, effected Clarissa’s battle. The film condenses Clarissa’s of the past ten years cohesive way and ends on a positive and uplifting note with a call to action for the viewer.

The documentary can be used for courses and educational programs that cover early childhood education, social issues, social justice, and black studies. It is well-suited for academic library collections.

Published and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Anyone can use these reviews, so long as they comply with the terms of the license.