SONAY HOFFMAN ON HANNAH CRAFTS:
Writer Sonay Hoffman tells the story of Hannah Crafts, a former slave who risked everything to write her novel. As a slave and later, during her daring escape, the self-taught Hannah secretly penned a historic narrative whose discovery and worldwide reception over 150 years later would have been unimaginable then. We hope you’re as inspired by Hannah’s bravery and passion as we are!
ZAKIYYAH ALEXANDER ON ADRIENNE KENNEDY:
Zakiyyah Alexander is the author of several plays including 10 Things To Do Before I Die (Second Stage Uptown), and Sick? (Summer Play Festival). A native New Yorker, former resident member of New Dramatists, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama (MFA in playwriting) and, most recently, a writer on the television show Grey’s Anatomy, her work has been seen and developed all over the country. She is currently working on a musical with composer, Imani Uzuri (featuring the poetry of Sonia Sanchez).
SUSIE LANDAU FINCH ON MILENA CANONERO:
In 1984, a last minute request for film extras led Susie Landau Finch to the set of The Cotton Club where she was dressed by Academy Award-winning costume designer Milena Canonero. That perception-altering experience made a lasting impression on Susie, inspiring her to share Milena’s talent, insight and impressive legacy with the Look What She Did! community. Enjoy her story about discovering authentic beauty.
MELINDA WHITE ON MAGGIE WILDEROTTER:
Melinda White is the West Region Area President for Frontier Communications. She’s been honored by The NY Chapter of NOW as a “Woman of Power and Influence” (2012), by Fierce Telecom as a “Woman in Wireline to Watch” (2014) and has been recognized as a Portland “Orchid Influential Woman Leader” (2015).
JAN OXENBERG ON CAROL DOWNER:
Listen to writer and raconteur Jan Oxenberg tell us about activist Carol Downer and the early days of the Feminist Women’s Health Center. Housewife and mother of six, Carol was radicalized when she endured a dangerous, illegal abortion, spurring her on to fight for women’s rights in daring and original ways. Currently an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, Carol’s commitment and never-say-die attitude are as inspiring and necessary as ever.
JULIE SGARZI ON GILDA FRANTZ:
Julie has a background in strategic planning, business development and marketing, and currently mentors mid-career professionals. She also lectures on contemporary issues from a Jungian perspective.
CYNDI FINKLE ON JULIA MARGARET CAMERON:
Cyndi Finkle is a multi-entrepreneur who has traveled the world as a photojournalist, fed crews on television shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, Wipe Out and The Biggest Loser, owns an art studio that offers camps and classes for kids and adults, and owns a cafe in Hollywood called Coffee + Food. She and her husband Temple like to build things and have renovated several homes across the country, including their current loft in Hollywood. Their 15-year-old daughter Sullivan makes life extraordinary.
RUTH CUSICK ON MAGDALENA AGUIRRE:
Since 2011, Ruth has served as the lead Education Rights Attorney for Public Counsel’s School Pushout Reversal Project. There she serves individual clients in fighting inappropriate school exclusion and collaborates with community organizers to reform local and statewide policies that criminalize low-income students of color. Ruth received her BA in Politics, International Relations and Economics from Scripps Women’s College in 2003 and her J.D. from City University School of Law in 2008.
LAUREL OLLSTEIN ON JERRIE COBB:
Laurel Ollstein discusses the intrepid Jerrie Cobb, an ace pilot who dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Despite out-performing many men Jerrie was prevented from competing for a spot in the original space program by Congress and Lyndon Johnson, who put an end to the idea of Lady Astronauts.
JILL KLEIN ON CLARA SHORTRIDGE FOLTZ:
Jill Klein tells us about the amazing Clara Shortridge Foltz, first female attorney in California and creator of the American Public Defender program. Clara’s mind-blowing career begins with her struggles as a single mother of five determined to become a lawyer, moves through her successful efforts to change laws.
ROBERTA LEVITOW ON ROSE MBOWA:
“Until the Lion learns to speak, the tale of the hunt will glorify the Hunter.” Director Roberta Levitow opens up about the groundbreaking theater artist and teacher, Rose Mbowa, also known as Mother Uganda. Rose Mbowa risked her personal safety to defend freedom of speech during Idi Amin’s reign.
ALICE TUAN ON RACHEL CROTHERS:
The incomparable Alice Tuan talks about an enormously successful theater artist, mostly unknown to history. Rachel Crothers wrote and directed many of her own daring, topical plays on Broadway BEFORE women had the right to vote. Crothers was a prototype feminist/artist who blazed a trail with brio and wit.
BRIGHDE MULLINS ON JANE ADDAMS:
Professor and poet Brighde Mullins talks about activist, Jane Addams, advisor to eight presidents, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and founder of the American Settlement House movement. Addams’ views on art, education, community and the widening gap between rich and poor are as relevant now as when she was alive. Give a listen to the brilliant Brighde Mullins on this important American heroine.
ELLEN GAVIN ON ELIZABETH GURLEY FLYNN:
Activist/Writer Ellen Gavin speaks passionately about Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, a prodigious, outspoken woman who led one of the most successful strikes in U.S. history. Although she was imprisoned numerous times it never stopped her from fighting for the fair treatment of immigrants, factory workers, African Americans, and other oppressed people. Take a little inspiration from this kick-ass woman.
FARREL LEVY ON SISTER MARY CORITA KENT:
Editor Farrel Levy tells the story of visual artist Corita Kent, a Catholic nun whose commitment to social justice— combined with an open mind and a sense of humor— led her to create vibrant serigraphs that merge American ad campaigns, pop culture imagery and quotes from the world’s religions, turning these pieces into startlingly moving art that is still relevant today.
JUDY CHAIKIN ON LIL HARDIN:
Lil Hardin. Heard of her? You should have. A brilliant jazz musician, composer and arranger, Lil was a child prodigy playing with the most sophisticated jazz players of the day when she was only 16 years old. Married to Louis Armstrong, she created the famous Hot Five and wrote their tunes. Click on our video to hear filmmaker Judy Chaikin tell the story of this force of nature who took the music scene by storm. A woman to be remembered.
GRACE LEE ON GRACE LEE BOGGS:
Okay, so— here’s a woman WAY ahead of her time. Activist/philosopher Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese-American woman who grew up in Queens, born to immigrant parents, dedicated her prodigious intellect and great heart to the causes of civil rights for African-Americans in Detroit. How’d she get there, this young girl out on her own, invisible because of racism, poverty and gender? Listen to filmmaker Grace Lee tell the fascinating — and relevant— story of a woman who made a difference.
ELISA BOCANEGRA ON MARIA IRENE FORNES:
This one is close to my heart. Irene Fornés is my dear friend and inspiration. If not for her I would not have written my first play. Theater artist Elisa Bocanegra tells us the story of this high-spirited, brilliant Cuban émigré who was more dedicated to art and writing than anyone I’ve ever known. An artist, through and through, she was also a teacher, and her unconventional, humanistic, imagistic point of view has guided hundreds and hundreds of writers, Latinos and others as well. We give you this moving interview with love and deep admiration for our Irene.
APRIL WOLFE ON PANCHO BARNES:
Want to know about an outrageous woman who broke all the rules with humor and an unshakeable sense of self? Take a break with Pancho Barnes, a fearless woman who escaped kidnappers by riding a horse across Mexico dressed as a man, repeatedly said ‘No!” to authority and beat Amelia Earhart’s speed record— and that’s just for starters. Writer/filmmaker April Wolfe shares the story of this bold adventuress who’ll capture your imagination and win your heart!
TAMAR HALPERN ON NELLIE BLY:
You’ve probably heard the name, but do you know what Nellie Bly did? She went from being a penniless unemployed woman to a national superstar for her risk-taking investigative journalism. She’s even got her own board game. Growing up, her nickname was Pinky… but once she adopted the moniker Nellie Bly she dominated her field, capturing the imagination of the public. She’s the idol and inspiration for writer/director Tamar Halpern, who tells us about Nellie’s exploits.
ANN-SOPHIE MORRISSETTE ON MOLLIE LOWERY:
Mollie Lowery saw a need and took action— to help homeless men.There was a program in place for women, but men were being left to fend for themselves so Mollie created a place for them using the innovative “Harm Reduction” model, which gets people housing first so they can address all the things that led to their homelessness. Ann-Sophie Morrissette tells us about Mollie’s inspirational life and insights, including having the wisdom to take time out to rejuvenate in nature. Take a listen.
JILL KLEIN ON MARIA SIBYLLA MERIAN:
Maria Sibylla Merian’s gorgeous drawings of the life cycles of plants, spiders, snakes, butterflies and other insects changed the way we see them. An independent-minded 17th century German, she was one of the first people– male or female– to insist on the validity of studying bugs. Her drawings and scientific observations were based on facts rather than the normal approach of the day– applying popular moral codes stressing male dominance in deference to God.
ANNA THOMAS ON CAROBETH LAIRD:
Carobeth Laird was an uneducated teenager with no hopes of attending college when, in 1915, she took a summer course with celebrated anthropologist John Peabody Harrington. Starved for knowledge, the girl fell head over heels in love with linguistics and cultural anthropology. The great man recognized her talent and almost immediately began both teaching and exploiting her. Listen to the story of their strange, profound relationship, and how Laird’s brilliance and powerful sense of self won out in the end.
LAURAL MEADE ON SARA BARD FIELD:
Laural Meade wrote a play about a few intrepid suffragettes who barnstormed across the country in an unreliable car, without proper maps or even paved roads, to gather half a million signatures demanding a woman’s right to vote. She came away with a great respect for all of them, but especially Sara Bard Field, orator, activist, divorcée, forward-thinker. At a time of serious societal penalties for living outside the norm, Sara had the moxie to forge her own path. Take courage from the example of Sara Bard Field.