Smarita Sengupta, a quiet, business-minded young woman from India decided to do something about sex trafficking and created Destiny Foundation/Reflection. Tanya Monsef Bunger, Board Chair for Global Women’s Leadership Network, tells the story of her friend Smarita’s courage and persistence in the face of great odds, as well as the brilliance of Smarita’s economic ideas about what to do to bring women out of this modern-day slavery.
“Courage is contagious.” TED star Brené Brown has spent decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, giving us insight to a healthier, more joyful life. Screenwriter Brittany Ashley takes us on her own personal journey learning from Brené.
This month we welcome our very first Managing Director to Look What SHE Did! Sylvia Hathaway Chavez is a graduate of Antioch’s Nonprofit Management program and has worked in nonprofits in the Bay Area and Los Angeles for over a decade. We are fortunate to have her on our team and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership. Welcome, Sylvia!
Meet serpentine dancer Loie Fuller! She pioneered modern dance using fabric, cutting-edge lighting technology and her own genius to revolutionize dance. Choreographer Deb Slater tells us about Loie’s lasting impact.
The shocking story of Phoolan Devi, the Bandit Queen, who started as an abused child bride, became a notorious criminal fugitive and eventually was elected to India’s Parliament. Though she was assassinated in 2001 the legend of the Bandit Queen lives on. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Neetu Badhan-Smith, tells the story of this powerful female avenger. Be advised, video includes mention of sexual assault.
Co-founder and Lead Editor, Farrel Levy, organized a shoot with girls from Hamilton High School’s Academy of Music Magnet in Los Angeles. Academy director, Marlene Zuccaro had been excited about the work of Look What She Did and felt that many of her students would be as well. She found girls who were interested in doing the research and who were comfortable being on camera. Marlene worked with them to refine their presentations before the day of the shoot.
Four students spoke about Barbara Johns, Lorraine Hansberry, Katy Jurado and Gwendolyn Brooks. Another student acted as Director of Photography.
This was our second venture into filming with high school students and it was another success. The students enjoyed themselves and reaffirmed the need for sharing stories of female role models.
Madam C.J. Walker was born into slavery as Sarah Breedlove, but became the first self-made female millionaire in the US, creating a beauty empire that helped African-American women celebrate their natural beauty. Using her influence to push for anti-lynching laws before the Civil Rights Movement, she also became a model entrepreneur. Listen to writer Wendy Calhoun tell Madam C.J.’s story.
As part of our Women’s History Month campaign, our Executive Director and Associate Producer traveled to Washington, D.C. for a friendraising event hosted by Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP and their Women’s Initiative.
We started the night with our overview video and then showed the audience Felicity Huffman on Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Renée Threatte on Ruby Bridges. Both videos moved the audience and were a great foundation for a discussion about facing life and the working world as a woman.
Advisory Circle member Kathleen Abernathy moderated a robust discussion with Molly Smith (Artistic Director of Arena Stage) and Maureen Ohlhausen (Acting Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission) about the obstacles they faced in their careers and what they do to help other women.
Thanks to Kathleen Abernathy and Board Member Mame Hunt for initiating this exciting event. We’re thankful to Wilkinson Barker Knauer for hosting and look forward to doing it again next year!
Photos: Mark Van Bergh Photography
This month we’re proud to offer this interview with the beautiful and brilliant poet Jane Hirshfield. I met Jane through the Philosophical Club in San Francisco, a meeting place for artists and scientists convened by Lucia Jacobs (both artist and scientist). I am always impressed with Jane’s comments at these gatherings— both scholarly and humanist, an irresistible combination. I know you will enjoy her insightful interview and I hope it will inspire you to read Jane’s work as well as that of her subject, Ono no Komachi. We have so much to learn from the women who came before us. From Komachi: Wash the cheater’s book and his lies will fade away…
Award-winning poet, essayist, and translator Jane Hirshfield tells us about ancient Japanese poet Ono no Komachi, a woman whose work feels so contemporary that it speaks to Jane as if it is her own experience. Komachi is one of the very few women in the Japanese Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry. She wrote brilliantly with a mastery of language that made her a legend in her own time… and for the next two millennia. Jane Hirshfield brings to life the work of this astonishing woman.
We celebrated Women’s History Month at The Ebell of Los Angeles– LA’s oldest women’s club– this past March in an event co-hosted by Cynthia Comsky and Mikki Brisk. It was a delightful and inspiring evening where we showed several of our videos and had storytellers Jill Klein, Sylvie Drake Jurras and Renée Threatte (via FaceTime) on hand to talk about their astonishing women subjects.
Anytime we gather people to view and discuss our videos, we come away empowered and energized. People were fascinated by Queen Hatshepsut, “Her Majesty the King,” deeply moved by the bravery of Ruby Bridges, astonished by the impact of Clara Shortridge Foltz and intrigued by the ingenuity of Mrs. H. W. R. Strong, the founder of The Ebell.
The evening ended on a joyous note with women in the audience telling us about women they know who have been left out of history.
A special than you to Meredyth Deighton, Julia Soto, Tina Tangalakis and all the staff at The Ebell for their work and support. We look forward to celebrating more amazing women with the amazing women at The Ebell in the future!
Photos: Boone Studios and Ebell of Los Angeles