Renowned organizer Heather Booth began her remarkable career in 1964 at the age of 18, when she traveled to Mississippi at the height of the Civil Rights movement. Her work with such legends as Fannie Lou Hamer was only the first moment in an extraordinary journey. Over the following decades, Heather has borne witness to—and been at the heart of—the most pivotal moments in progressive movements of the last fifty years. Heather’s work—and her connections to nationally known leaders from Elizabeth Warren to Julian Bond—provide a unique, behind-the-scenes look into these moments through the eyes of the people who fought for change and justice.
As a teenager, Heather visited the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. She was moved by the memorial to the people of the Warsaw Ghetto who fought back against the Nazi oppression. Their bravery set her on her life’s path. While at the University of Chicago, a friend with an unplanned pregnancy called her—abortion then was a felony and illegal abortions were dangerous. Heather found a doctor who agreed to the procedure. Heather braved tremendous personal risk in founding what became known as the JANE Underground, a secret network offering safe abortion services.
Heather rode the crest of the waves of change through the 70s, forming multiple national coalitions to address pressing social problems. In the 80s, she took heed of activist Alice Palmer’s words, “if you don’t do politics, politics does you,” and began working on electoral campaign. She worked in Harold Washington’s successful, ground breaking may oral campaign in 1983. In 2000, she spearheaded an unprecedented voter registration effort for the NAACP’s National Voter Fund adding nearly two million African-Americans to the rolls of eligible voters. Her strategy in this effort is credited with laying the groundwork for the election of President Barack Obama years later.
We have full access to Heather in telling this story of an extraordinary woman---as well as the cooperation of family, friends, students and colleagues of national stature.
Heather will be joining us via Skype for a Q&A session following the film, and we will have a panel discussion as well.