The mission of BC Voices, Inc. is to collect, preserve and share the stories of women coming of age in the tumultuous late 1960s/early 1970s, and then riding the crest of the second wave of feminism over the past half century when doors have opened for women, but not all the way.
BC Voices was founded as a 501(c)(3) New York State not-for-profit corporation by members of the class of 1971 of Barnard College, the women’s undergraduate division of Columbia University, New York City.
During the year the class of 1971 entered Barnard College, Columbia University, the Columbia campus exploded in the 1968 Student Building Occupation and Strike. The Women’s Movement sparked dramatic changes on the Barnard campus, from overturning dress codes and curfews to expanding students’ expectations for professional careers, intimate partnerships, and family planning.
By the time the class of 1971 graduated, new laws and social norms expanded women’s opportunities for economic independence and reproductive autonomy. Yet some long-standing barriers persisted. Many of us broke through those barriers. Many of us worked on the front lines of social change. Many of us strove with varying degrees of success to “have it all.” All of us grappled with and were shaped by a rapidly changing social and political reality.
Inspired by the beloved late Barnard Political Science Professor Peter Juviler, a group of Barnard ’71 alumnae began collecting classmates’ life stories in 2010, documenting their college experiences and the full trajectories of their lives in a time of great social change. These stories became the Barnard Class of 1971 Oral History Collection, a rich primary source of historical testimonies housed in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections.
In 2012, a core group of Barnard ’71 alumnae founded BC Voices to complete the Oral History Collection and produce documentary shorts based on these stories. The Way It Was screened during Barnard’s 125th Anniversary Celebration in 2014. Making Choices, Forging Paths premiered during Barnard’s 2016 Reunion Weekend.
In 2017, BC Voices began work on what became our current project, Stand UP, Speak OUT: The Personal Politics of Women’s Rights, an online docuseries about the radical transformation in women’s lives empowered by the mid-20th century expansion in women’s rights. Our docuseries highlights the hard-won freedom, independence, and opportunities that are at risk today.
BC Voices continues its work to complete the docuseries and inspire viewers to learn from history and sustain women’s fundamental rights.