“You either become somebody who lays down and takes it, or you just get to that point that you can’t take it anymore and you have no choice but to stand up and fight back.”
A new short documentary opens on Claudia Perez, president of the resident council at a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) building where she lives. She explains the “intimidation tactics,” invasion of privacy and puntive consequences associated with the blanket ban on public housing residents smoking in their own homes.
Directed by Elisa Correa and Marilena Marchetti, and produced by Filter Senior Editor Helen Redmond, NYCHA Smoking Ban platforms a growing number of residents and allies speaking out against the Authority’s prioritization of smoking crackdowns over individuals’ agency and the toxic environmental conditions baked into the buildings themselves—like mold, asbestos and lead.
“This documentary gives a voice to tenants in public housing who are essentially unheard,” co-director Elisa Correa told Filter. “It shows and tells the real lives of vulnerable groups of smokers, addresses stigma by creating empathy towards smokers. NYCHA wrongly prioritizes the smoking ban, without addressing far more important issues such as availability of basic housing services.”
The film, she added, “exposes the issues of putting in place smoking cessation methods without including vaping.” You can watch it above.
NYCHA was funded by a scholarship from Knowledge-Action-Change. The Influence Foundation, which operates Filter, has also received scholarships from KAC to support tobacco harm reduction reporting.