International Lens continues in its quest to introduce us to movies we never would have seen otherwise with a screening of Freedom House Street Saviors, a film about the country’s first specially-trained paramedic emergency unit. But these paramedics weren’t some young medical students and they weren’t advantaged upper-middle class white kids. They were, to quote the poster, “hardcore unemployed black men” from some bad, bad neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.
That’s right, these were some guys from dangerous neighborhoods who were recruited to get specific medical training for emergency situations because they wanted to help save lives in their neighborhood. And they did that. Their work was groundbreaking and we probably have them to thank for modern day EMTs, but sadly their work has been all but completely forgotten.
That’s what Freedom House Street Saviors wants to correct, our forgetfulness. The documentary tells the story of these paramedics and spells out their legacy in 90 minutes. It screens for free tonight at Vanderbilt’s Sarratt Cinema at 7pm.