Taylor Schilling to introduce ‘Equal Means Equal’ on September 7 in New York

Taylor Schilling to be introducing ‘Equal Means Equal’ on September 7 in New York

From ERA Coaliton

Orange is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling will be introducing Equal Means Equal at our September 7th screening in NYC!

After the film, Kamala Lopez (Film Director), Jessica Neuwirth (President of the ERA Coalition), Carol Robles Roman (Legal Momentum), Jamia Wilson (WAM!), Ravi Karkara (UN Women), and renowned journalist Carol Jenkins will be discussing the accelerating momentum to get the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution once and for all.

Purchase tickets here: www.eracoalition.org/equalmeansequal

 

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Taylor Schilling interviews Georgia Lerner for Lenny Letter

Taylor Schilling interviews Georgia Lerner for Lenny Letter

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From Taylor Schilling

I first met Georgia Lerner, the Women’s Prison Association‘s executive director, three years ago in the beautiful but weathered townhouse in the East Village where the WPA has been doing its work since 1874. Not much has changed since they first moved in: staff desks sit beside marble fireplaces, and filing cabinets share walls with portraits of the founders, abolitionists Isaac T. Hopper and Abigail Hopper Gibbons. Georgia offered me her famous homemade cookies (a tradition for new visitors) and allowed me to pore over the many historic logbooks and journals in her office.

At the time, I wondered how this old, worn, somewhat scrappy organization was still in working order, never mind at the forefront of today’s most pressing social crises, mass incarceration and criminal-justice reform. It’s clear to me now that the WPA is still around because it is saying — and doing — something different.

Georgia will tell you that she’s not all that interested in talking about making prison better. She notoriously ignores media inquiries about how women do their makeup behind bars or fashion shower shoes from maxi pads. She wants to talk about what might happen if we stop relying on our need to punish people and instead consider what drives a woman to commit a crime in the first place.

The vast majority of the WPA’s clients come to the agency experiencing homelessness, mental illness, domestic violence, addiction, a lack of education, a long history of unemployment, untreated trauma, or any combination thereof. What if, Georgia will ask you, we considered those circumstances at the moment of a woman’s arrest? What if she were diverted from jail and presented with mental-health services or parenting classes or job training? What if one person — or one agency — saw her as a person, not a case, and provided the resources she needed to save and strengthen the trace of stability she was clinging to? We discussed these issues, and others, over the phone recently.

Read part of the interview here

 

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