In Philadelphia, the birthplace of the US, people from all walks of life are building courage, connection and hope against all odds. Groundwork is a documentary series about what happens when people stop putting up with injustice and start building a movement. Explore the plight and the fight through 5 documentary shorts that go in-depth with each of the characters or through a 40 minute film that weaves these stories together.

Created by the Media Mobilizing Project.

Eastwick in the Middle:
Organizing for Environmental Justice

Community members in Eastwick, Southwest Philadelphia, organize for environmental justice and community control over development in a neighborhood plagued by decades of toxic dumping and forced displacement, and threatened by climate change. Eastwick Action Committee member, Earl Wilson, invites us into the work of the Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition, a group of community, environmental, and legal advocates fighting to make Eastwick whole.

A Job I Can Enjoy

The first time Shymara Jones, a Popeye’s worker, went to a protest, she didn’t know where she was supposed to stand. The second time she went on strike, she brought 6 of her coworkers with her. As a leaders in the growing movement for $15 and a union for fast food workers, Shymara is making a way for her two-year-old son Jaden to have a better future. They’ve come a long way, but they know the movement won’t stop when they win the fight for $15.

Youth Uprising

When he was in eighth grade, Giancarlos Rodriguez led chants at a rally for the first time. Now he’s one of dozens of High School students in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood who are fighting for good schools and control over their education. When the School District puts two beloved neighborhood schools on the list for closure, the community takes action to keep them open. Students take us into the work of Youth United for Change.

El Motor de Mi Vida /
The Engine of My Life

Every day, Celia Mota’s only option is to drive without a license, risking deportation and separation from her family. When Celia’s brother-in-law was wrongfully arrested four years ago, she and her sister Alejandra found hope and faith with New Sanctuary Movement. After winning a multi-year court battle to keep their family together, they decided to fight for other people in their situation. Now they are leading a campaign for driver’s licenses for all Pennsylvanians, regardless of immigration status.

The Valley with a Heart

Over decades of working as nurses, Lori Schmidt and Elaine Weale have seen healthcare become a profit-driven, assembly line industry. Every single day is a struggle to give the best care without enough staffing or supplies. When they joined the union, they were doing what their parents and grandparents taught them to do – standing up for what’s right. Drawing on family traditions and community pride, the Wyoming Valley Nurse’s Association is organizing for better patient care with nurses across Pennsylvania