The Pioneering Black Sci-Fi Writer Behind the Original Wakanda

MIT rarely allows Hollywood films to be shot on their campus. So it was a surprise when an email went out in 2021, alerting students that a film titled Summer Break would be filming at the school. Turns out, this was the working title of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

But something else was special about Wakanda Forever’s filming location. The MIT scenes were shot a stone’s throw from where, a century before, Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins worked at the Institute. Hopkins is credited with inventing the setting that eventually became Wakanda in her science fiction, but her name isn’t widely known.

“She was a powerhouse, an innovator and an intellectual dynamo.”

Publicly Arresting Formerly Incarcerated Voters Is Voter Intimidation—Not ‘Election Integrity’

Under the direction of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in August arrested 20 people with felony records for breaking Florida’s elections laws during the 2020 election—even after several officials had explicitly told them that they could legally cast ballots. Some fear these public arrests will have a chilling effect on voter turnout in future elections. Already, the 2022 midterms were the first election in Florida’s history in which registered Republicans outpaced Democrats at the voting booth.

“It’s jarring to think about a grandfather getting pulled from his house by SWAT team for voting in our state,” said Neil Volz, deputy director of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.

Now Is the Time to Protect and Expand Birth Control Access

Concern about future access to contraceptives has spiked since Roe was overturned. Concerns about access are understandable, given state legislators have strategically perpetuated misinformation as part of efforts targeting access to contraception.

In response, we must call on elected officials to support urgently-needed legislation, such as the Right to Contraception Act, which seeks to protect the right of individuals to use birth control and the right of physicians and other healthcare professionals to provide this basic essential care.

The Senate Must Prioritize Pregnant Workers and Moms Like Me During the Lame-Duck Session

In 2019, I was working as a cashier for a large grocery store chain in Louisiana when I became pregnant with my second child. When the store’s management found out about my restrictions, they pushed me out of my job.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would close a legal loophole in the landmark Pregnancy Discrimination Act by ensuring that all employers provide pregnant and postpartum workers with modest accommodations on the job. The bill has passed in the House twice but it still hasn’t gotten a vote in the Senate, even though it has enough Republican and Democratic votes to pass. It is urgently needed and wildly popular. A recent poll showed 90 percent of Americans support the bill.

I’m a Maternal Health Physician. The U.S.’s Maternal Death Rate Is Shameful.

The estimated U.S. maternal mortality rate in 2018 was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, putting the United States dead last compared to similarly wealthy countries.

Protecting and expanding access to abortion care and taking steps to support pregnant women and families such as through child tax credits will help reduce the maternal mortality rate and catch the U.S. up to the standards of other countries.

Without Roe v. Wade, Women in My Shoes Could Be Jailed for Their Miscarriage

In Texas, a six-week abortion ban means women experiencing miscarriage are denied care until they develop sepsis or forced to carry a dead fetus for weeks. In Wisconsin, one expecting mother bled for 10 days from an incomplete miscarriage doctors were barred from removing. Earlier this month, a Missouri woman suffering a life-threatening miscarriage couldn’t receive care under the state ban. These accounts—once mere warnings of what could happen in a post-Roe America—are now reality for millions of people across the country.

‘Freda’ Is the Film We Need Now

Because Haiti is in the news again, we are bombarded with stories about unrelenting political turmoil, destabilizing unrest and crippling poverty.

Set in contemporary Port-au-Prince, Gessica Généus’s film Freda affirms that not only do Haitian women exist, but that their existence is replete with complexity and beauty. A feminist film in every way, Freda’s commitment to the female characters especially asks us to carefully consider what we look for when we see Haitian women.