Best documentaries on social justice issues

I’ve been passionate about social justice issues since I was a teenager, and I’ve also had a long-standing love affair with the documentary genre of film.  So it’s no surprise that when a documentary turns the lens on social justice issues, I’m intrigued. I would even credit some documentary films for providing me with an education on many issues that I was ignorant to previously.

The following are some of my favorite documentaries that cover a wide range of social justice and global issues.

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    Children Underground

    This documentary is a brutal look into what happens when orphans in Eastern Europe age out of the system or run away from institutions. It provides a startling context to the orphan crisis and the fate of children who do not get adopted.
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    Flow How did a handful of corporations steal our water

    This movie is a revealing expose about the water industry, and the way major corporations are profiting from practices that make water scarce for certain regions.
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    Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County

    This film turns the lens on the Orange County we rarely see: struggling families who cannot afford rent so they are stuck in a cycle of living in residential motels.
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    The Cove

    This film depicts the shocking slaughter of dolphins in Japan. Even if you aren't an animal rights activist, this movie will move you to tears.
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    Waiting for "Superman"

    This movie exposes the inherent problems in our country's public educational system, and the hearbreak for families who don't win the lottery in their chance to attend a good school.
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    War Dance

    If you've seen Invisible Children, then you know about the plight of the Ugandan children in the face of Kony's terror. This story follows a group of children from the Acholi tribe who try to move forward through dance.
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    Who Killed the Electric Car?

    This movie details the shocking turn of events that led to the downfall of the electric car via the big automotive companies. It's a sad but true revelation about how corporations can impede environmental progress.
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    An Inconvenient Truth

    This is a must-see for every single person who calls earth home. It's a wake-up call to what our practices are doing to our planet, and how we need to change to make sure our children grow up in a safe place to live.
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    Born into Brothels

    This documentary explores the life of children who are born to women in the sex industry in India, and the difference that one photographer makes in their lives.
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    God Grew Tired of Us

    This documentary follows three "Lost Boys" from the Sudan who are forced to leave their homeland due to a tumultuous civil war. The film chronicles their triumph over adversities and a relocation to America, where the Lost Boys build active and fulfilling new lives but remain deeply committed to helping friends and family they have left behind.
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    Half the Sky

    This film takes on the central moral challenge of the 21st century: the oppression of women and girls worldwide, and how we can begin to empower women living in poverty.
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    Miss Representation

    This film explores how the media's misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.
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    This documentary takes an unflinching look at the health care industry in America. Stocked with research and staggering statistics, it is a compelling look at how our country compares to others, and the consequences for those who get sick in our current system.


How about you? What are some of your favorite documentaries?


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You can find Kristen Howerton  blogging at Rage Against the Minivan, or avoiding housework over at Facebook or Twitter.

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