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When We Fight: Voices from the Los Angeles Teachers Strike

What does a teachers strike look like?

In the wake of Covid-19, Los Angeles was the first school district in the U.S. to announce schools would go remote when the year resumes this Fall. Why? Because last year teachers, students, school staff and parents in L.A. pulled off the largest citywide educator strike in modern American history.

In the forthcoming film, When We Fight, documentary filmmakers shadowed L.A. teachers for five months as they organized for and went on strike, providing a unique first-hand account of their strike, and shedding light on the nationwide teacher strike upswell.

Join filmmakers Yael Bridge and Yoni Golijov for a sneak preview of excerpts from the film, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers, UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz and West Virginia educator and strike leader Jay O’Neal, for a conversation about the 2018 West Virginia strike, the 2019 Los Angeles strike, and the teachers’ struggles around the country today to make sure schools reopen only when it’s safe.

The filmmakers have launched a Kickstarter to raise funds to complete When We Fight and release it this Fall. Please consider donating to the film; you can see their Kickstarter, film teaser, and rewards at:


Cecily Myart-Cruz is a teacher, activist and the United Teachers Los Angeles President, and the first woman of color to serve as president in the union’s 50-year history. Cecily has taught for 26 years at both elementary and middle school levels. She is the Chair of the CTA Civil Rights Committee, Chair of the NEA Black Caucus, and a member of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.

Jay O’Neal is a middle-school teacher and union activist in Charleston, West Virginia, and one of the leaders of the successful 2018 West Virginia educators’ strike, one of the largest strikes in the U.S. in decades. In 2019, he was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Yael Bridge is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and the director/producer of a forthcoming feature film about the resurgence of Socialism in America. Previously she produced Saving Capitalism starring former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. As Director of Productions at Inequality Media, Yael made political viral that gained over 200 million views on social media.

Yoni Golijov is a producer at Praxis Films, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras’s production company. He has produced on her films and artworks including Risk, Project X, Signal Flow, and Triple-Chaser – a collaboration with Forensic Architecture. He has also served as a consulting producer at Field of Vision.