‘Birthright: A War’ Documentary Presents Real-life ‘Handmaid’s Tale’

Birthright: A War Story screens April 26 in Piedmont and April 28 in Oakland

Birthright: A War Story examines what has happened to women’s reproductive rights in America since the historic Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 legalized abortion. Director Civia Tamarkin traces the strategy the anti-abortion movement has used to make reproductive choice unavailable, even if it is still legal: For over 40 years it has played the long game, working state by state to pass laws that chip away at women’s reproductive healthcare options. The war story that Birthright traces is a war of attrition.

Tamarkin presents haunting, personal stories of women trapped in the confines of these new laws interwoven with expert voices of activists and historians. We learn how women are being jailed, physically violated and even put at risk of dying as a radical movement tightens its grip across America. One couple, Robb and Danielle Deaver, share the horrors they endured as a direct result of Nebraska’s law banning abortions after 20 weeks, predicated on questionable science and similar to laws in 25 other states.

In California, where access to reproductive care is relatively secure, many may not realize how successful the anti-abortion forces have been in rewriting state law, and using courts and religious doctrine, to govern women’s reproductive rights.

Birthright: A War Story also highlights that for women with financial means, abortion is likely to remain accessible and safe.  But for low-income women of all ethnicities, especially those on Medicaid and in a growing number of states, access to abortion and contraception has already become scarce and dangerous; they are caught up in a draconian web of laws and corporate policies surrounding reproductive medical care of all kinds.

These developments are now a public health crisis which is increasing maternal mortality, turning pregnant women into criminals, and challenging the constitutional protections of every woman in America. This is the real-life “Handmaid’s Tale”.

Free screenings of Birthright: A War Story

Thursday, April 26, 2018
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse
325 Highland Ave
Piedmont, Calif.
6:30  Reception
7:00  Film
8:45  Discussion

Saturday, April 28, 2018**
The New Parkway Theater
474 24th St., Oakland, Calif.
Food for purchase
3:00  Film and Discussion

** Check at www.thenewparkway.com — Warriors playoff schedule may force a change of date or time.

Further information at: diversityfilmseries.org, and at the film’s website: www.birthrightfilm.com.  Questions?  Email anita@diversityfilmseries.org.

César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong

Equal Justice Society


This Saturday, March 31, is César E. Chávez National Holiday and César Chávez Day in California, an official state holiday. 2018 also marks the 25th anniversary of César Chávez’s passing. The American labor leader and civil rights activist helped spark and lead a movement in the 1960s and 1970s to empower farmworkers in California and throughout the country in order to end the suffering caused by racist agribusiness owners.

Chávez and the United Farm Workers employed radical acts of non-violence to raise awareness of the struggles and mistreatment of the farmworkers. Chávez himself underwent many fasts to advance the farmworkers’ rights movement. In 1988, he started an eventual 36-day fast to protest the use of pesticides in the fields.

“This solution to this deadly crisis will not be found in the arrogance of the powerful,” said Chávez, “but in solidarity with the weak and helpless. I pray to God that…

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Estela Lopez Gilliam Selected as Coalitions Manger for Good Ally Collaborative, CCRC

The Equal Justice Society is delighted to announce that Estela Lopez Gilliam will serve as Coalitions Manager for the Good Ally Collaborative and the California Civil Rights Coalition.

As Coalitions Manager, Ms. Lopez Gilliam will be responsible for facilitating the 600-member Good Ally Collaborative and developing the Collaborative’s leadership and coalition planning. The position will also assist EJS in realigning and reactivating the California Civil Rights Coalition.

The Good Ally Collaborative is a network of attorneys and activists that grew out of the January 2017 “How to Be a Good Ally Strategic Engagement Conference” organized by Kelly Dermody, Yolanda Jackson, and others in San Francisco. The conference brought together more than 1,000 participants in response to the climate of rising hate, intimidation, and discrimination.

Founded in 1985, the California Civil Rights Coalition is a statewide community of civil rights organizations, activists, educators, lawyers, and advocates representing a wide range of issues and working as one to create a just and healthy society.

Estela has worked with civil rights organizations serving low-income communities, immigrants and refugees and marginalized communities for over twenty years. Most recently she has been working as a Staff Attorney with the Unified Family Court at the San Francisco Superior Court.

She has also served as the Associate Director of California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, as a Staff Attorney with the San Francisco Superior Court Family Law Self-Help Center, where she assisted self-represented individuals access the court and supervised the Self-Help Center’s volunteer program and with the Public Defenders’ Office in Santa Clara County.

Estela received double degrees in Chicano Studies and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and her law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. After graduating from law school, Estela was named the Earl Johnson Community Lawyer Fellow, an honor given to one graduating law student in the state of California pursuing a career in public law. During her fellowship, she worked at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area representing immigrant clients impacted by the 1996 Welfare Reform Law.

EJS expresses our deep appreciation to the Rosenberg Foundation (rosenbergfound.org) for providing us with a grant to support the coalition management of the Good Ally Collaborative.

We would also like to thank the following Good Ally Collaborative members for serving on an ad hoc advisory committee that provided feedback on the consultant selection: Angelica Jongco, Jody Nunez, Kelly Dermody, and Leslie Cunningham.

For more information on the Good Ally Collaborative, visit http://goodally.us.

Rosenberg Foundation Provides Grant for Grand Alliance Efforts

UPDATE: We now have the position announcement listed.

The Rosenberg Foundation (rosenbergfound.org) has awarded the Equal Justice Society with a discretionary grant of $15,000 to support EJS’s “Grand Alliance” efforts, specifically the coalition management of the Good Ally Collaborative.

The Good Ally Collaborative (goodally.us) is a network of attorneys and activists that grew out of the “How to Be a Good Ally Strategic Engagement Conference” held on January 6, 2017, in San Francisco.

The conference brought together more than 1,000 participants in response to the post-election climate of rising hate, intimidation, and discrimination. The conference was organized by a team led by Kelly Dermody and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, and Yolanda Jackson and the Bar Association of San Francisco.

The team at EJS is serving as coordinators of the Good Ally Collaborative, transitioning the Good Ally conference attendees into a 600-member coalition designed to connect skills and resources with needs, intersect with existing movements, and develop solutions to unmet challenges.

EJS’s work with the Good Ally Collaborative is part of its “Grand Alliance” approach, which reflects the organization’s vision of justice that explicitly acknowledges the interconnectedness between various issues, struggles and constituencies.

Since EJS’s founding in 2000, the organization has developed a proud tradition of reaching out to marginalized communities and advocating on behalf of social justice issues that have not always fallen under the racial justice umbrella.

The California Civil Rights Coalition (calcivilrights.org) is also a Grand Alliance effort co-chaired by EJS President Eva Paterson and MALDEF President Thomas A. Saenz. CCRC was founded in 1985 to as a statewide community of civil rights organizations, activists, educators, lawyers, and advocates representing a wide range of issues, working together to create a just and healthy California.

EJS will use the Rosenberg Foundation grant to engage a part-time coalition management contractor. This person will serve as the primary Good Ally Collaborative coordinator, and also develop strategies on how to intersect the Collaborative and the California Civil Rights Coalition.

The Rosenberg Foundation grant is intended to provide short-term support. EJS is seeking matching contributions from institutional or individual donors interested in supporting long-term efforts to sustain and grow the Good Ally Collaborative. Interested donors can contact EJS Director of Development Anna Basallaje at abasallaje@equaljusticesociety.org or 415-288-8700.

Visit http://GoodAlly.us to learn more about the Good Ally Collaborative, or contact Keith Kamisugi at kkamisugi@equaljusticesociety.org.