Based on the homonymous book by award-winning East Coast journalist Juan González, “Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America’” is a documentary that challenges the prevalent judgmental attitude towards Latinos as to why they left their countries of origin to come to the U.S.

The 2010 Census revealed how Latino communities are changing the face of the nation. The Latino population in the U.S. has reached 50 million, and Latinos have accounted for 56 percent of the total population growth in the United States since 2000. According to new population estimates, some 500,000 Latino citizens will reach the age of 18 every year—for the next 20 years.

But where did all these Latinos come from? “They never teach us in school that the huge Latino presence here is a direct result of our own government’s actions in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America over many decades—actions that forced millions from that region to leave their homeland and journey north,” said González.

Interweaving archival footage with testimonials—Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz, Mexican historian Lorenzo Meyer, journalists Maria Hinojosa and Geraldo Rivera, Grammy award-winning singer Luis Enrique and poet Martín Espada—the documentary works as a 101 course on Latin American politics, by examining the convoluted reality that Latino immigrants from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Mexico left behind before immigrating to the U.S.

According to the film’s producers—Wendy Thompson-Marquez, board member of Latino Public Broadcasting, and Eduardo López, producer of the television series Línea Directa—the film attempts to open a civil dialogue and help “challenge the negative stereotypes of Latino immigrants and raise awareness about the true origins of the Latino presence in the U.S.,” as well as develop “a deeper understanding for the real life impact of U.S. foreign policy.”

“We are all Americans of the New World, and our most dangerous enemies are not each other, but the great wall of ignorance between us,” said González.

“Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America” will screen Monday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., at Brava Theater in San Francisco; and Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 4:15 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., at Grand Lake Theater in Oakland. For more information about the documentary visit: