Marni for City Council is a documentary on a political outsider’s Primary campaign for a New York City Council seat in 2021, fighting for underserved residents in District 3. It explores an Asian American woman candidate in electoral political process, political activism, empowerment of women and progressive democratic issues.
The daughter of Filipino and Jordanian immigrants, Marni Halasa has always advocated for the less fortunate. As a political outsider, Marni is eager to personally introduce herself to potential voters in District 3. She visits local homeless shelters to hear the needs of residents that have been moved around under changes in the shelter system during the pandemic. Soon residents of New York City Housing Authority’s, Fulton House in Chelsea are uniting against the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, a plan to raze several low-scale buildings and replace them with towers containing market-rate units. Marni organizes Fulton House residents in protests, advocating for the rights of the long time, low-income citizens of the district. She participates in a protest, asking for governor Cuomo to resign over sexual harassment acquisitions on March 9th, 2021, when first reported. Despite financial difficulties, lack of staff and campaign volunteers, Marni continues campaigning through Primary Day, June 22nd, 2021.
The documentary is a story of one woman’s fight to save her beloved city from the gentrifying interests of real estate owners, developers, the perennially underfunded NYC Housing Authority and an administration anxious to answer all concerned, during a pandemic.
Yunah has been making documentaries that have impact on social, artistic and educational issues. “Between the Lines: Asian American Women’s Poetry”(2001) is an example showing Asian American women poets who reflect on their personal lives to write about social, political and artistic issues in their poetry. “Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words” (2011) explores how Anna May Wong (1905-1961) the first Asian American star and stage actress, navigated and fought racism and sexism in Hollywood in the 1920s and the 1930s. It was broadcast on 200 PBS stations in 2013-2015.
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