Episode of Ms.’s On The Issues With Michele Goodwin Podcast: Rest in Power: Sue Ellen Allen, Advocate to the End

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 26, 2021

On the Issues with Michele Goodwin is a popular, issues-and policy-focused podcast featuring feminist analysis, insightful conversations and exciting guests. This is the first podcast from Ms. magazine, a legacy feminist publication. In each bi-weekly episode, host Dr. Michele Goodwin and special guests will tackle the most compelling issues of our times, centering feminist concerns about rebuilding our nation and advancing the promise of equality.

An episode— Rest in Power: Sue Ellen Allen, Advocate to the End (with Sue Ellen)—is available now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and MsMagazine.com.

On February 24, 2021, Sue Ellen Allen, founder and executive director of Reinventing Reentry, passed away. Sue Ellen was a University of Texas graduate, educator, community leader, former inmate at Arizona State Prison and activist. She found her purpose from serving time in prison.

This episode is dedicated to Sue Ellen Allen and her work on prison reform and reentry. Dr. Goodwin was able to tape the show with her late in December, shortly before Christmas while Sue Ellen was in hospice. This episode features that conversation.

Dr. Goodwin first met Sue Ellen in 2014. In doing research for Dr. Goodwin, a resourceful research assistant came across an op-ed that Sue Ellen published. It described her time in a women’s prison in Arizona and the harsh conditions under which she survived breast cancer while incarcerated. Memorable for Dr. Goodwin was how Sue Ellen described having her breasts “chopped off”—her words—while shackled and chained. Dr. Goodwin knew then that she wanted to meet Sue Ellen and they became friends.

Sue Ellen’s advocacy, increased awareness, and made visible the plight of women and girls in American prisons and jails. Her transformative leadership resulted in her invitation to President Obama’s last State of the Union and seating with Mrs. Obama.

In their conversation, Dr. Goodwin and Sue Ellen explored mass incarceration and the women who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated. In true form, Sue Ellen was an advocate to the end.

Their conversation covered a wide range of topics; you can find a full transcript here, as well as a few excerpts below:

“At the darkest time of my life…the drug addicts and the murderers and the thieves looked after me.  And I will never forget, you know, I’m one of them. I’m a sister in orange.”

“But here’s the thing, you lose your hair, and you lose your breast, and who are you? I didn’t know who I was anymore. I thought I’ve lost my hair. I’ve lost my breast. What’s left of me? And most importantly, had lost my freedom.” —Sue Ellen Allen

Meet the Host of On the Issues: Dr. Michele Goodwin is a frequent contributor to Ms.Magazine and on MsMagazine.com. She is a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine and also serves on the executive committee and national board of the ACLU. Dr. Goodwin is a prolific author and an elected member of the American Law Institute, as well as an elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Hastings Center. Her most recent book, Policing The Womb: Invisible Women and The Criminalization of Motherhood, is described as a “must read.”

About Ms. Magazine: Co-founded by Gloria Steinem in 1972 and published by the Feminist Majority Foundation since 2001, Ms. magazine has been a trusted, popular source for feminist news and information in print and online for nearly 50 years. Ms.’s time-honored traditions of an emphasis on in-depth investigative reporting and feminist political analysis have never been more relevant, bringing a new generation of writers and readers together to share news, analysis, research and strategies for fighting back and moving forward, for shaping the future.

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If you would like more information on the On the Issues with Michele Goodwin podcast, or to schedule an interview with Host Michele Goodwin or Executive Producer & Ms. Executive Editor Katherine Spillar, please email [email protected].

Launched in 1971, Ms. is the most trusted, popular source for feminist news and information in print and online with a tradition of in-depth investigative reporting and feminist political analysis. Ms. is wholly owned and published by the Feminist Majority Foundation.