May 25, 2010

Media Trusting Women - How Revolutionary!

From Jezebel - The much-discussed "abortion ad" airing tonight on British television is pretty subtle — but it's still more explicit than anything you'd be likely to see on American TV.

"Abortion ad" deserves quotes because, although it's been billed as such in the British press, the spot by sexual health clinic Marie Stopes International actually advertises a helpline, not abortion services per se. And as the clinic points out, far more people call its line than ever come in for an abortion. Still, the ad does depict women concerned about unplanned pregnancies, and it directs such women to a resource that may counsel them on abortion — which would be pretty shocking on American TV.

Planned Parenthood's response to Focus on the Family's Tim Tebow ad, for instance, was web-only. And while that ad supported the notion of "trusting women" to make reproductive decisions, it didn't explicitly address women in the midst of those decisions. Actually talking directly to women experiencing unplanned pregnancies, and pointing them toward counseling that will help them explore all their options, still feels pretty revolutionary. Also notable is the ad's inclusion of a woman who already has several children. Young, childless women aren't the only ones who seek abortion — rather, women in all life stages and of all backgrounds need access to the procedure, which is something more people might realize if we could actually talk openly about it.

May 12, 2010

Speaking Their Voices - The Kitchen Sisters

The Women's Collaborative Circle recently received an email from the Kitchen Sisters introducing us to their latest radio story about the Traveller Girls in Ireland, which is part of their new NPR series on the Hidden World of Girls.  This Peabody Award-Winning dynamic duo are a gem in the world of story telling and I am so excited to share some of their work with you!

From the Hidden World of Girls website - The Kitchen Sisters are launching a new NPR multimedia series exploring the hidden world of girls. Stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secret identities—of women who crossed a line, blazed a trail, changed the tide.

About the Kitchen Sisters Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva from their website: 

The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, are award winning NPR documentary producers who have been working together for more than twenty-five years. They are the creators of the popular Hidden Kitchens series on Morning Edition, the Peabody Award winning NPR series Lost & Found Sound and the post 9-11 Sonic Memorial Project, co-produced with colleague, Jay Allison. They are currently producing an NPR and online series about girls around the world.

As independent producers, they are the creators of more than 200 stories for public broadcast about the lives, histories, art and rituals of people who have shaped our diverse cultural heritage. They are the recipients of numerous awards including the duPont-Columbia Award, two Peabodys, three Audies and many others.

They are the authors of Hidden Kitchens, Stories, Recipes and More from NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters, a 2005 New York Times Notable Book and a James Beard nominee.

The Kitchen Sisters are involved in educating and training new voices for public media. They teach at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, the Social Documentary Graduate Program at UC Santa Cruz and give presentations and workshops at universities, radio stations, and public events throughout the country and abroad. They have an active internship program and participate in the public radio community throughout the country.

Their non-profit organization, The Kitchen Sisters Productions is dedicated to exploring complex cultural issues through personal stories, bringing seldom heard voices to air, and building community through storytelling.

In addition to producing radio, Davia Nelson is also a screenwriter and casting director. She lives in San Francisco. Nikki Silva is also a museum curator and exhibit consultant.  She lives with her family on a commune near Santa Cruz, California.

One of my personal favorite stories is that of  Georgia GilmoreIn the 1950s, a group of Montgomery, Ala., women baked and sold pies, cookies and cakes in beauty salons and on street corners to help fund the Montgomery bus boycott.

The Club from Nowhere, as the group was known, was the brainchild of Georgia Gilmore, a cafeteria worker fired for her organizing efforts. She was one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights era. The Kitchen Sisters and producer Jamie York tell her story.  For the full story, transcript and audio visit   

I encourage you to visit their website to hear excerpts of their work, full stories and more about the impetus behind their amazing work!