BC VOICES LAUNCHES AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY ON
Exploring American Women’s Past and Continuing Fight for Reproductive Freedom
BC Voices, Inc. is pleased to announce the release of Reproductive Rights, Episode 3 of the online docuseries, Stand UP, Speak OUT: The Personal Politics of Women’s Rights.
Stand UP, Speak OUT Episode 3: Reproductive Rights illuminates American women’s struggle to achieve and exercise control over their bodies through archival photo, audio and video clips, as well as through interviews with a racially diverse, multi-generational group of women speaking about the importance of reproductive rights in their personal lives.
Cited by viewers as “comprehensive, intelligent, compelling and moving,” Stand UP, Speak OUT: Reproductive Rights tells the ongoing story of American women’s tumultuous, at times physically dangerous, struggle for reproductive freedom, from the founding of the US to today. It highlights how the mid-20th century expansion in birth control and abortion rights empowered many women to explore multiple family and career options in historically unprecedented ways and warns how the reproductive freedoms and associated opportunities of the past 50 years are at risk today.
Vicki Breitbart, lifelong reproductive justice activist and advisor to BC Voices says Stand UP, Speak OUT: Reproductive Rights is a “lasting contribution to our struggle for social change and human rights.” Former Dean of Multicultural Affairs and Senior Diversity Officer at Trinity College, Karla Spurlock-Evans says, “I like that you took particular care to present the specialized histories/experiences of women of color along with the better-known generalized history.”
We are thrilled to announce that three of the four short documentaries among the Stand UP, Speak OUT: Reproductive Rights Personal Stories – Sterilization, Birth Control and Abortion – have been awarded Best In Social Justice Films by the New York Women in Film and Television 2023 Online Shorts Festival. These personal stories expose what’s changed over the past 50 years, what’s the same, and how far all American women have to go to reach reproductive autonomy.
“We are honored,” says BC Voices President Katherine Brewster, “to have the financial support of the Drake Bettner Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, and our major underwriter, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, all of which have made Stand UP, Speak OUT: Reproductive Rights possible. Mr. Newmark’s philanthropic work helps to strengthen American democracy by supporting the values that the country aspires to – fairness, opportunity, and respect.” For his part, Craig Newmark has said, “I am excited to support BC Voices, Inc., and delighted to see your project come to fruition.”
As President Brewster observes, “In 2023, one year after the Dobbs decision, there is much work still to do. While we honor the fortitude of those on whose shoulders we stand, it is imperative we continue the fight for equal pay, voting rights, and reproductive rights to expand women’s economic independence, political power and reproductive autonomy.”
“We hope Americans of every background will be inspired by Stand UP, Speak OUT: The Personal Politics of Women’s Rights to continue the forward momentum of equal rights for all,” adds President Brewster. “We invite organizations to share the three Stand UP, Speak OUT episodes — Equal Pay, Voting Rights, and Reproductive Rights — with their membership, include them in their programming and in college courses, and collaborate with us to create programs and events around these critical issues related to women’s equality.”
About BC Voices
In 2012, a diverse group of women from the Barnard College Class of 1971 formed the non-profit BC Voices, Inc. to tell the story of their generation of Barnard women who came of age amid the seismic social and cultural changes of the 1960s. BC Voices produced the Barnard Class of 1971 Oral History Collection, housed in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, and commissioned two short films: The Way It Was, about the experiences of college women during the political and social turmoil of the late 1960’s/early 1970’s; and Making Choices, Forging Paths, about creating lives as adult women over the past 50 years, when doors opened for women, yet not all the way. The online docuseries, Stand UP, Speak OUT: The Personal Politics of Women’s Rights, tells the story of how the mid-20th century expansion in women’s rights dramatically changed women’s opportunities, freedom, and independence over the past 50 years, and, how far we still have to go to realize full equality. All are available on the BC Voices website.
About BC Voices’ Major Financial Supporters
Craig Newmark is a Web pioneer, philanthropist, and leading advocate for democracy. Most commonly known for founding the online classified ads service, Craigslist, Craig Newmark works to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. In 2016, he founded Craig Newmark Philanthropies to advance people and grassroots organizations that are “getting stuff done” in areas that include trustworthy journalism and the information ecosystem; safeguards around AI; voter protection; women in technology; and veterans and military families.
The Drake Bettner Foundation primarily funds work with organizations to lead campaigns that spark conversation and environmental action, to support the productions of independent film and video producers.
The Puffin Foundation Ltd. seeks to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy. It makes grants to emerging artists working in the fields of art, music, theater, dance, photography, and literature.
Through historical narration and multi-generational personal stories, the Stand UP, Speak OUT docuseries tells the story of the unprecedented lives led by American women over the past 50 years, empowered by the mid-20th century expansion in their legal rights, but facing the risk, today, of losing these hard-won rights for themselves and younger generations of women.
Each of the planned six episode of Stand UP, Speak OUT opens with a historical overview of one of the rights that changed in the mid-20th century, followed by stand-alone interviews with diverse American women from the late 1960s who illuminate how those rights transformed their lives. Each woman gives an unscripted account of her actual lived experience of being deprived of full equality. Grandmothers, mothers, and daughters hear and respond to each other’s stories, often for the first time.
The introduction plus the first three episodes in the planned six-episode online docuseries series can be viewed at the Stand UP, Speak OUT website:
• The docuseries introduction, 200 + Years: American Women Fight and Rise, the struggle to gain, uphold, and expand women’s rights in America from 1776 to the present.
• Episode 1: Equal Pay for Equal Work, American women’s struggle for the recognition of the value of their labor and its impact on their economic independence.
• Episode 2: Voting Rights, the fight for women’s suffrage for all women and the challenge of maintaining a voice in the laws and policies that affect women’s lives.
• Episode 3: Reproductive Rights, the arduous fight for reproductive justice for all women and how critical it is to women’s ongoing opportunities, freedom and independence.
Katherine Brewster, President of BC Voices and Executive Producer of Stand UP, Speak OUT, is an entrepreneur, and manages a practice in somatic healing and wellness. She has more than 50 years of experience in sales, marketing, business management, and fundraising for non-profit artistic enterprises. She is a 1971 alumna of Barnard College and earned an MBA at Columbia Business School in 1978.
Elisabeth Harris has worked as a producer for more than 20 years on projects for CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, Travel Channel, History Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery and other outlets. She spent seven years at CBS News on long-form documentary specials and breaking news, and directed the hit PBS show “History Detectives” for two seasons. Her subjects have ranged from a documentary on Paul McCartney and his band Wings to a short film about a hermit in Maine. Since 2015 she has been the Supervising Producer of the longest-running history show on cable TV, “Mysteries At The Museum,” on The Travel Channel. Elisabeth holds a BA in Women’s Studies and an MFA in Film and Television Writing & Production.
Renowned feminist scholars and activists advise BC Voices on the historical accuracy and inclusiveness of each Stand UP, Speak OUT episode:
- Celia Naylor, Professor of History and Africana Studies, Barnard College;
- Annelise Orleck, Professor of History, Dartmouth College; Rosalind Rosenberg, Professor Emerita of History, Barnard College;
- Ellen Ross, Professor Emerita of History and Women’s Studies, Ramapo College;
- Deirdre Cooper Owens, Associate Professor of History and faculty member of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut at Storrs;
- Dána-Ain Davis, Professor of Urban Studies, Anthropology and Critical Psychology at Queens College;
- Iris López, cultural anthropologist and Professor of Sociology, Latin America and Latino studies at The City College of New York/CUNY;
- Jennifer Nelson, Professor of History in Women, Gender, and Sexuality at the University of Redlands;
- Lina-Maria Murillo, Assistant Professor in the departments of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and History at the University of Iowa;
- Elena R. Gutierrez, Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago;
- Vicki Breitbart, former director of the graduate Health Advocacy Program at Sarah Lawrence College; and board member of national reproductive justice organizations;
- Gloria Feldt, former President and CEO of Planned Parenthood and current President of Take the Lead.