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Members Of The First Rainbow Coalition Put Aside Differences To Fight Social, Racial Injustice

Courtesy of Paul Sequiera
Black Panther Bob Lee speaks at a community meeting.

In late 1960s Chicago, disparate and diverse working-class political groups banded together to collectively push back against oppression, inequality, police brutality and poverty.

The Rainbow Coalition included the Latino group The Young Lords, Southern whites from The Young Patriots and members of the Black Panther Party. “All Power To All People” became their unifying message against racism and inequality for people of different ethnic backgrounds.

The coalition's stated mission was to provide for the community and improve living conditions, but its politics were seen as a threat by federal and state officials who made dissolution of the Rainbow Coalition a top law enforcement priority. Many of their goals are still rallying cries for activists today.

Ray Santisteban’s THE FIRST RAINBOW COALITION premieres on Independent Lens Monday, January 27, 2020, 10:00-11:00 PM ET (check local listings) on PBS and is available to stream on PBS.org and the PBS Video App.

Guest: Ray Santisteban, director and producer of "The First Rainbow Coalition"


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

* This interview was recorded on Monday, January 27.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.