‘Why We Still Love Zora’: Irma McClaurin on PBS Documentary ‘Claiming a Space’ and Zora Neale Hurston’s Legacy

PBS’ American Experience premieres documentary film on pioneering writer and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960). Directed by Tracy Heather Strain, Zora Neale Hurston: Claiming a Space is the first film to explore Hurston’s life and ethnographic work in great detail.

“Anthropology only started looking at the literary styles of novels and non-scholarly writing in the late ’80s. But Zora had already been there and done that,” said Irma McClaurin, Black feminist poet, anthropologist and Hurston expert.

In ‘The Swimmers’ Film, Director Sally El Hosaini and Olympian Yusra Mardini Bring the Refugee Experience to the Screen

In 2015, sisters Yusra and Sara Mardini, trained as professional swimmers by their father, fled Syria with hopes of escaping their war-torn homeland. During the harrowing 25-day journey, the dinghy’s motor broke and the boat began to sink—so Yusra and Sara jumped into the frigid waters to drag the boat to shore. Eventually granted asylum in Germany, Yusra began training again at a Berlin pool and was selected to compete as part of the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Their story has been captured in The Swimmers, an evocative biographical drama directed by Sally El Hosaini and released on Netflix last month. In this Q&A, Sally El Hosaini and Yusra Mardini discuss the experience of making the film, how to tell true stories, and what they hope viewers will take away.

‘Voters Showed Up for Democracy’ Despite Record-Breaking Suppression: The Ms. Q&A With Maya Wiley

U.S. voters have faced significant changes in the voting rights landscape over the years—but when it comes to restrictions, the last two years take the cake. Since the beginning of 2021, lawmakers have passed at least 42 restrictive voting laws in 21 states, making last year the worst on record for voting access. Many of the same trends continued into 2022, affecting both midterm turnout and race outcomes, and putting U.S. democracy through the ultimate stress test.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has been fighting laws like these for over seven decades. Today, it’s led by Maya Wiley. In a conversation with Ms., Wiley gave her frank take on the 2022 midterms and the upcoming Georgia Senate race; discussed the role of voter suppression in key races this year; and shared her vision for the future of U.S. civil rights.

Jennifer Baumgardner’s New Journal ‘LIBER’ Marries Women’s History and Contemporary Feminism

Jennifer Baumgardner, founder and editor of LIBER: A Feminist Review, believes that a literary journal can be a place where women’s history intersects with today’s most pressing feminist debates. Baumgardner and Charis Caputo, LIBER’s senior editor, aim to include “a lot of diferent perspecives and be a big feminist tent for as many people as possible.”

Dismantling the ‘Latino Republican Voter’ Myth—With Voto Latino’s María Teresa Kumar

In the last several years, a popular narrative has emerged: The rise of right-wing extremism has been fueled by a surge in Latino support. María Teresa Kumar, head of Voto Latino, says this is simply untrue. 

Ms. spoke to Kumar to try to understand the proliferation of the ‘Latino Republican voter’ myth. As the head of an organization focusing almost exclusively on engaging young Latino youth in the U.S. political process, she helped me make sense of the election aftermath, the messages she thinks Latino voters sent through the way they voted, and why it’s time for progressives to double-down on Texas.

Telemedicine Abortion, Explained: The Ms. Q&A with Choix’s Cindy Adam

As abortion bans mount in states across the country in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortion seekers in states where the procedure is banned are increasingly turning to online telemedicine providers.

“It really helps to alleviate the stress and the barriers that come with accessing such a highly stigmatized and politicized form of care, even in the states where abortion care remains legal,” said Cindy Adam, co-founder and CEO of Choix, of telemedicine abortion. “It puts that power to decide back into the hands of the person seeking care.”

‘I’m This. I’m That. I’m Many Things’: Pratibha Parmar on Andrea Dworkin and ‘My Name Is Andrea’

Pratibha Parmar’s 2022 film about Andrea Dworkin brought both pushback and praise within feminist and queer communities. In this Q&A, Parmar shares her thoughts on reactions to the film but also about her interest in Dworkin.

“There is an arc between generations of female artists’ protesting violence against women. And I want Andrea’s voice to be part of the conversation on its own terms and in its complexity.”

What Our Primate Ancestors Can Teach Us About Dismantling the Patriarchy: The Ms. Q&A with Diane Rosenfeld

A new book shines an intriguing new light on the possibilities for alliances among women in the ongoing struggle to end men’s violence against women by examining the social organization of one of our closest primate relatives. In The Bonobo Sisterhood, Harvard Law School professor Diane Rosenfeld shows how we have much to learn from the bonobos about how to eliminate male sexual coercion.  

“Patriarchy is not inevitable; the bonobos are living proof of that.”

‘The Future Is Disabled’: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha on Creating a More Humane Social Order

Writer, disability-justice activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha knows that it’s possible for society to become more equitable. Piepzna-Samarasinha’s latest book, The Future Is Disabled: Prophesies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs, lays out a bare-bones agenda for what is needed to make the U.S. more socially just.

Piepzna-Samarasinha and Ms. contributor Eleanor J. Bader communicated about the book, the disability justice movement and the ways that activists can support each other in the fight for a more ecologically sustainable and humane social order.