Entrepreneurial Spirit is Alive and Well as Demonstrated by New Documentary ‘CITY RISING: The Informal Economy’ Premieres December 4 on KCET and December 9 on Link TV In Partnership with The California Endowment

Allison Gray

The California Endowment CONTACT
Sarah Reyes


                                                                           New Installment of Documentary Series Follows

                                                                      Workers Forced to Organize to Change Current Policies

Caridad - Street Vendor - Boyle Heights
 (Street vendor Caridad Vasquez featured in “CITY RISING: The Informal Economy.” Image Courtesy of KCET.)




BURBANK, Calif.November 8, 2018KCET and Link TV, viewer-supported media organizations providing acclaimed culturally diverse programming, announced today a new installment of the acclaimed documentary series CITY RISING that examines how workers that labor off the books, sometimes hiding in plain sight, are organizing to find pathways for legalization and protection. The new one-hour, multi-platform documentary called ‘CITY RISING: The Informal Economy’ is in partnership with The California Endowment and a co-production with Sylvia Frances Films. It follows four California workers facing structural discrimination but fighting to change policy and improve upward mobility for their communities. From the urban neighborhoods and industrial corridors of Long Beach to the rural Coachella Valley, on-camera interviews with organizers, politicians and experts will contextualize labor in California, the world’s fifth largest economy.  The effects of this movement are far-reaching and their voices will ultimately impact the social health of communities across the country and beyond.

CITY RISING premieres on Tues., Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. on KCET in Southern California. The documentary will also air on nationally independent satellite network Link TV on Sun., Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (DirecTV 375 and DISH Network 9410). The documentary will also be released digitally following their broadcasts on kcet.org/cityrising and linktv.org/cityrising.

Supporting the new documentary will be a series of online articles and social media videos providing in-depth, critical analysis on the issues surrounding those impacted by the informal and “gig” economy. Online video profiles will also be showcased at kcet.org featuring four very different individuals Boyle Heights street vendor Caridad Vasquez, Long Beach truck driver Daniel Aneseko Uaina, Oakland community organizer Saabir Lockett and Coachella farmworkers Juana and Santos Barajas working across California trying to navigate through bureaucracy and policy in order to protect their livelihoods.

“We are honored to collaborate with the team at The California Endowment to take a deep look at informal economies,” said Public Media Group of Southern California Chief Creative Officer and the film’s Executive Producer Juan Devis. “We hope CITY RISING: The Informal Economy gives a voice to a movement led by thousands of workers organizing to change policies all over the United States, not just in Southern California.”

Included in the documentary are labor experts that include SDSU’s professor of geography Pascale Joassart, UC Berkeley labor economist Sylvia Allegretto, UC Hastings law professor Veena Dubal, The California Endowment’s Senior VP for Healthy Communities Dr. Anthony Iton, Cal Poly Pomona assistant professor of Urban & Region Planning Alvaro Huerta, University of Illinois at Chicago professor of Urban Planning and Policy Nik Theodore and more.

"The stress of economic insecurity negatively affects a person's health and well-being," said Dr. Tony Iton, Senior Vice President, Healthy Communities at The California Endowment. "Economic instability is not only about paying the bills, but having access to health care, healthy and thriving neighborhoods and communities. All things that will directly affect your life expectancy." 

The four California communities featured in the documentary include:

  • Boyle Heights: an urban enclave neighboring downtown Los Angeles that has made itself a cultural mecca for the city’s booming Latino population.
  • Long Beach: a coastal Southern California city whose central and western neighborhoods have a diverse population of Latinos, African-Americans, Southeast Asians (especially Cambodians), Filipinos and Pacific Islanders.
  • Oakland: a major port city east of San Francisco that was historically racially diverse but has faced threats of gentrification while residents have fought for employment, housing and community development opportunities.
  • Eastern Coachella Valley: a large and diverse desert valley in Southern California that stretches from Riverside County and Palm Springs to the Salton Sea, with agriculture as its major industry.

Additionally, a premiere-screening event hosted by The California Endowment will take place in downtown Los Angeles at The California Endowment (1000 Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012) on Wednesday, November 28 from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.  A reception featuring a gallery of photography showcasing some of the state’s informal economy workers will be held prior to the screening. Following the event, a panel discussion featuring some of the filmmakers and the film’s subjects will take place as well as an audience Q&A. This event is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required. Please visit https://cityrising2.eventbrite.com for more information.

Join the conversation on social media using #CityRising​

KCET is a flagship PBS channel of the newly formed PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.



Sylvia Frances Films is an independent, Los Angeles-based storytelling collaboration between documentary filmmakers Joanna Sokolowski & Kate Trumbull-LaValle, who are dedicated to crafting intimate, compelling, character-driven films and storytelling projects. In addition to documentary films, we also produce story-driven content for commercial and community projects.



KCET and Link TV are award-winning viewer-supported 501(c)(3) media organizations providing high-quality, culturally diverse programming with a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities and opportunities for engagement and social action. KCET is a flagship PBS channel serving Southern California, and Link TV is a national independent satellite network available on DIRECTV (channel 375) and DISH Network (channel 9410). Content for both services is also available through various digital delivery systems including Apple TV, Amazon, and Roku. For more information please visit http://www.kcet.org/apps and https://www.linktv.org/about/apps.



PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA tells stories that matter. We create original programs that reflect the diversity of the region and share the full schedule of PBS programs that viewers love and trust – delivering a public media service that educates, informs and empowers. Through three content channels – PBS SoCal, KCET and LINK TV – our library of programs is available for streaming on any internet-connected screen, seven Southern California broadcast channels, and one national satellite channel. A donor-supported community institution, PUBLIC MEDIA GROUP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA hosts hundreds of in-person cultural events, screenings and community conversations to spark the sharing of diverse ideas and perspectives and delivers real social impact through an Early Learning service that prepares our most vulnerable children for school, as well as other special public service initiatives. Find us at pbssocal.org, kcet.org and linktv.org.



The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental affordable improvements in the health status of all Californians.  The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools and with prevention. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. For more information, visit www.calendow.org.

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