Visit this blog for information about screenings and other news on The Oak Park Story, a new documentary that recounts the struggles of three very different families who find themselves together in a run-down slum in Oakland, CA. Khlot Ry, who escaped the Killing Fields in Cambodia, arrived at Oak Park Apartments as a refugee. Soon after, Hortensia and Felix Jimeniz crossed the Rio Grande with their baby and moved to this complex. Looking for a place to develop his “cross-cultural” skills, Dan Schmitz relocated from white suburbia to rent a one-bedroom at Oak Park as well.
The ethnic groups represented by these families maintained an uneasy relationship until the El Nino rainstorms flooded their apartments. The landlord allowed the complex to fall into disrepair so the city condemned it. To fight for their families’ housing rights and to preserve their community, the families formed an unusual, multiethnic tenants association. They ultimately won a landmark settlement, but this too brought about some surprising, unintended consequences.