Documentary ‘True Son’ Tells of Stanford Graduate Michael Tubbs’ Inspiring Rise to Public Office

Michael Tubbs, a 23-year-old Stanford graduate raised by a single mother, is trying to make a difference in his home of south Stockton, California. (Hector Amezcua/MCT) | Sacramento Bee via Getty Images
Michael Tubbs, a 23-year-old Stanford graduate raised by a single mother, is trying to make a difference in his home of south Stockton, California. (Hector Amezcua/MCT) | Sacramento Bee via Getty Images

This year at the Tribeca Film Festival, one documentary follows the inspiring electoral journey of a political underdog.

Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California, is unlike any councilman you’ve ever known. Last year, at the age of 22 and newly graduated from Stanford University, he was an unlikely candidate for public office. The documentary “True Son,” which debuted last week at the Tribeca Film Festival, follows Tubbs through several months of campaigning for a seat on the city council of Stockton, and ultimately captures his victory.

It’s worth noting that Stockton was, at the time, facing imminent bankruptcy and, as Tubbs points out during the movie, “more murders per capita than Chicago and Afghanistan.” The son of a teenage mother and an incarcerated father, Tubbs had already succeeded in defying bleak odds as a young, black male in his troubled community by graduating from college. He was working at the White House when a personal tragedy ignited a sense of responsibility within him that would lead him back home.

As Tubbs wrote at The Daily Beast earlier this month:

During my internship, my cousin was murdered in Stockton, one of 50 homicides that year. In the midst of grieving, I began to feel that I had a special responsibility to use the resources I had been given to make the world a better place, although in which capacity was still unclear. It wasn’t until a year later that I achieved clarity when I decided to run for city council in Stockton — with no money or political experience. The impetus behind this decision was a desire to change the odds for children like my cousin and me.

First-time producers and sisters Jhanvi and Ketaki Shriram — whom knew Tubbs from Stanford — sought out director Kevin Gordon and convinced him to make Tubbs’ long-shot campaign the subject of his first feature documentary. Gordon’s film crew consisted mostly of novices, which was mirrored on the other side of the camera: Tubbs’ campaign support came largely from people with little political experience. Aside from campaign manager Nicholas Hattan, organization efforts were executed solely by Tubbs’ family and friends from the community, such as his field director and fellow Stockton native Lange Luntao.

Click here to read more

Source: Black Voices | Jessica Dickerson

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