The Movement



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Chicago, Illinois

I would like to express the prospective of an Afro-American male living in an urban setting. I believe in equal rights for all, no exceptions. I watched my mother work hard to obtain recognition as a supervisor with the US Post Office. She was asked to speak before a gathering of women organized by the National Organization of Women in the early 80's; she retired shortly thereafter. I was very proud to see my mom get the recognition of her peers, yet I subsequently question the true intent of those orginizing the movement. I saw women of other races repeatedly benefit from the struggles and sacrifices of that time; and increasingly there desendents also receive a lions share of those hard fought benefits. Sisters of '77; or hoodwink in '77? I remember the mood that further separate the black family, black women speaking out to black males about not taking the oppression any more. But, was it truly a correct preception, was the oppressor the black man. What businesses have we owned, what market did we control, and what institution did we influence that oppressed the black women? It appears that all the women movement did for the Afro American community was to provide a distraction, whereby further separation was leveraged. Where are the benefit manifested in our community? Is the general education of children in the black communities across the country improved? Are opprtunities for Afro American children in government improved? Are children in our community being taught self determination and those skills needed to determine and guide the development of our communities? I question if the efforts and struggles of the Women Rights Movement were ever designed to benefit Black women or their communities. It is my supposition: that the Sisters of '77, left the interest of the sisters' out. Very respectully, Stan
Lorraine Sepulveda
New York City

I have lost faith in the woman's movement. All the fighting and law passing still does not protect us from Men who treat us like we are of a lower class. My sister a good mom moved here from virginia to introduce her child to her father and then lost her child in a custody battle. He has more money and she doesnt. There is alot of this going on lately. My sister is a well educated woman as well as others that i have seen and read in the newspapers are going thru the same. Why is this and why is this happening? Today i lost my cool at my partner for his sexist remarks on how woman have to stay home and take care of their children and cook. These things have not changed. There is no future for mothers who are good mothers to get their children back from courts who think money is better than love. 2007 is here and men still think woman should stay home and cook and clean and raise children. Nothing has changed.

Ann Crump
Mukwonago, WI

I served on the National Women's Committee of my Union, Communications Workers of America, and the Chair of that committee decided to hold a meeting in conjunction with the National Woman's Conference. I was priviledged to attend as a guest and sat up in the balcony. I was also lucky enough to know Kay Clarenbach,PhD. of Wisconsin, who was in charge of the logistics of this historic event. What a job she did! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the excitement and wonder that took place. It was almost too much to take in. From Barbara Jordan to Betty Ford and Mrs. Carter; from sugar cane workers in Hawaii to redneck delagates from Oklahoma (being told what to do by their male right wing co-conspirators in the balcony right next to me); from proud lesbians to CEO's; from parlimentary fights led by Union women to celebrations of the final passage of the agenda. At 24 years old, this event changed my life more than a little. Let's do it again. Isn't it time we meet together to talk? 2007 would be a very good year.

Jennifer Zapata
Los Angeles, CA
Thank you so much for this film. It was an incredible and motivating piece of history, strength and unity that the cameras and commentary captured beautifully. As a young member of NOW, high school student and feminist, I took great pleasure in seeing the women who paved the way for my generation's rights and liberties that were denied to them and fervently fought for in the 1970's. I truly believe in the women's movement with all of my heart and soul, and the very reason I even watched this film tonight was because of a strange feeling that came over to me just over an hour ago, as I was eating, urging me to turn to my PBS station. I was both amazed and taken aback that a film about the women's movement and the Women's National Conference was being shown on television. Every inch of my being agreed with Betty Friedan's closing statement, where she said that if the young women allow this administration/govt. take back all the rights that Second Wave feminists ardently fought for, is it likely that they will step up to the plate and fight back? Well, I just want to say to Ms. Friedan that at least one young woman will-- me-- and I will do whatever it takes to assert that women's rights are not blindly snatched away from us one more time. Especially not when women like the ones I saw in this film gave their blood sweat and tears for the advancements women like me have today.

arlington, virginia
I watched Sisters of 77 and think it would be an excellent teaching resource. I teach pregnant teens and teen mothers, and believe my students would benefit and learn by seeing this film about the fight for women's rights. Thank you for airing it. 3/4/05
Omaha NE

I was a facilitator of one of the workshops at the state conventions and saw firsthand the organization of what we now call the religious right - the tables set up outside the conference with articles being handed out on how to to use parliamentary procedures to disrupt specific workshops, the busses of women and their male leaders in red jumpsuits coming in the second day when the delegate voting would take place (and being ordered by one of the red jump suits to start voting "correctly"). What another commentator referred to as the dark side did not begin in Houston - it came there because of these organizational tactics. I'm no national leader, just a regular person who was involved then. Now, I work in social justice areas on discrimination issues. I come out of a working class background with two parents working throughout the 50's and 60's and beyond so that the family could have a decent home, food on the table, and hopefully a shot at college for us kids. I watched my Mom come home after 40 hours of work, plus commuting to take care of us, the house, everything else. I am proud that we have gone beyond those days, though there is so much more progress to be made. At leasr we are no longer getting 59 cents for every dollar men make! 3/2/05
Orlando, FL

I must first put a disclaimer on my comment: I am a young, liberal, politically aware and active woman, whose mother was involved with the "women's movement". I appreciate my reproductive rights, my right to educate myself, my right to create a film if I'de like. I also support gay rights.

However, I'de like to bring to light what I hope is a growing opinion among my fellow "daughters" of the movement. Although the feminists were courageous in their attempts to try to change the way women are seen and percieved, it seems that they were too hard headed to also be conservative with values that some women held/still would like to hold very close. The women opposed are merely brushed off as unbelievable, in the dark, or doormats, rather than worked in as another minority. Perhaps they could have represented a minority sub-group with "family value ESP", rather than stereotyped as pro-life and anti-women. They would be proven right when the final outcome of certain policy and ideology would break the foundation for more traditional women, and the children of those that were righteously non-traditional. It is infuriating to hear that we "take these rights for granted" when many of us were raised in broken homes, on TV dinners only to be cast into a world where it now takes two incomes to support a household even before children.

So, what excactly should we march for now?

There are MANY societies, primitive and developed where women have chosen the roles of wives and mothers. The womens movement claims to have had respect for this, although it is the main point in history to be blamed for its collapse in this country.

As a somewhat educated, outspoken, single woman, with no pressure to EVER have a family, I can "do anything I want." As long as it isn't what my grandmother did, as that is no longer an acceptable or even affordable option.

We are "on the move" alright...working overtime and living with domestic partners because we can't afford weddings. Going to school since a working man's salary cannot support a family anymore. Wondering if we will ever have a family, because we have never seen one. Running in circles. Having babies, getting divorced at will. Picking our kids up from day care.

I find it incredibly ironic that many of these liberated women, raised in sane, traditional households expect us to identify with them at all...let alone march.

We are too damned tired!! 3/2/05
Charlotte Klein
New York,NY

It was thrilling to feel the power of the Convention once again.I was there in'77! The agenda was enormous and grew hour by hour, as various minorities spoke their mind.An inspiring highpoint was seeing and hearing the First Ladies speaking freely in all-out support. You did an excellent job covering disputes and showing how we really came together with an historic plan. Much of it has been implemented because so many of us kept working and we shall keep working. 3/2/05
linda hatfield-southern
chehalis, wa

I sincerely hope the filmmakers show the DARK side of this: The Mormon women who were herded through this convention by men with walkie-talkies and bullhorns telling these women how and what and where to vote. In case you have forgoptten it was the efforts of the mormon church in Idaho, Missouri and Virginia that defeated the ERA chance of passage. The Federal Judge in Idaho, McAllister, was a regional representative of the Mormon church and his clerk was the son of Neil Maxwell a member of the governing 12 of the church. 2/28/05
betty malmgren
napa, ca

I was thrilled to learn of this film in an email from the National Women's History Month Project. Houston was a watershed moment in my life. As a young reporter working for the Reno Gazette and Journal, I had covered the Nevada State Women's conference and felt strongly about going to Houston (but getting there is a long story).

In Houston, I remember dinner out one night--strangers becoming friends...the wonder as a farm wife from the Midwest met an activist from New York and discovered what they had in common; later both laughing at jokes told by a grandmother from the Pacific Northwest. In the convention hall the moment gay women stood up with balloons, "we are everywhere." The platform issues and give and take in supporting each other. Seeing all the living first ladies on stage together. I have had a photo of the conference on the wall of my office for years. I bought two t-shirts there. One i wore out; one i saved for the daughter i hoped to have so she would know how her life would change because of Houston. I had one son instead (and pushed him in his stroller in ERA marches) but still have saved the shirt in the hopes i'll have a granddaughter someday. Future generations of women need to remember Houston.

Betty Malmgren,
publisher, Easy English Times 2/28/05

This is a wonderful film. I had the pleasure of seeing it in Dallas last spring. It's one you'll want to watch with your mother, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, and the men in your life.

The Sisters of '77 is guaranteed to prompt debate, not only about the status of women in America, but about where we are heading collectively as a Nation.

If a National Women's Conference were held today, we'd be discussing issues like reinstating the 40 hour work week in lieu of temp jobs, demanding not only equal pay but living wages for all, the rising cost of health insurance and growing number of uninsured adults and children.

In short, REAL family values.

And, what IS a family? Certainly the topics of gay marriage and family planning would be included among the topics on any agenda.

The Sisters of '77 served our Nation well in promoting discussion and debate on the important issues of the day. It's time to move the dialogue forward. The Sisters of '05 can and must reclaim the national debate.

This film will serve as a catalyst for positve change. 2/25/05
Pat Lehman
Wichita, KS

I was one of those women in Houston. As a former single mother, blue collar first woman working in what came to be called a "non-traditional" occupation-the NWC brought me into contact with women across the nation who shared some similar experiences.

It gave me the opportunity to meet Union women from across the nation, and to feel the special bond we have as Union Sisters.

Unfortunately, after 25 years the attack on women's control of their bodies continues unabated, and certainly we continue to see attacks on people because of their sexual preference, so, sad to say, many of the hot topics of 25 yers ago are still with us.

Never the less, we HAVE made progress in the past 25 years. No one questioned my youngest daughter's right to attend law school, and she was chosen as the editor of the law review for her law school.

Two of my daughters are administrative assistants at university, both in departments where women previously were not often employed.

No one questions the fact my daughters and daughters in law will have careers outside the home, and may work while pregnant!

We have credit in our own names, and purchase our own goods and services, signing contracts for everything from vehicles to houses.

Sexual harrassment is out in the open, and not tolerated, nor are sexual "jokes" considered funny now.

We hold elected public office in greater numbers than ever before, and draw support form both women and women.

We have learned to open our mouth and our checkbooks for causes we believe in, and changes we are committed to making.

Yes, in some cases young women do not realize how far we have come, and at what price, and how quickly it can all be lost. But, I have faith, we have raised our daughters to raise hell when necessary, and to no longer tolerate the intolearble, and our sons join with them. They will march if needed, and demand rights with an assurance and confidence we could only dream of in 1977. 2/11/05
Margie Herbert
Dallas, TX

Your works have been inspirational to me for many years now. It is my honor to recommend you as people and film makers.

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