What happens when the working mothers employed as housekeepers at a Harvard-owned hotel decide to “lean in” for higher wages and better working conditions? ¿Puede la solidaridad femenina unir a las clases?
In celebration of International Women’s Day, and in solidarity with today’s Women’s Strike, The Nation Magazine has released my long-in-the-making collaboration with Sarah Leonard about a group of immigrant working mothers who sought to unionize their Harvard-owned workplace – and in doing so asked Harvard’s first female president & Sheryl Sandberg “which side are you on?”
Their story shows us what a “feminism for the 99%” might look like.
CLEAN IN is a 21min video essay featuring music by bilingual political punk band Downtown Boys and Puerto Rican shoegaze band Un.Real. It’s a companion piece to Sarah’s long-form essay, Housekeepers Versus Harvard: Feminism for the Age of Trump.
Regardless of whether or not you are striking today, I hope you might find some time to read Sarah’s essay and watch CLEAN IN.
Spoiler alert: unlike 99% of labor stories, this piece has a happy ending! It’s a genuinely inspiring tale of how creative organizing and cross-class solidarity can achieve real, concrete, material (and nonmaterial) improvements in the lives of working people.
Happy International Women’s Day!
¡Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer!
PS: This project emerged out of a socialist feminist reading group which has deeply informed how I think about both feminism and the economy. In honor of today’s strike, members of that group have collaborated on A Women’s Strike Syllabus. Check it out!
You may recognize Diane Guerrero as Maritza on Orange Is The New Black, the second season of which premieres this Friday. But I’m can smugly say I discovered her, when I cast her as the lead in my short film Ashley/Amber.
In a shameless attempt to ride on the coattails of OITNB’s success, today I’m releasing a remastered, color-corrected version of Ashley/Amber on demand through VHX and Vimeo for one dollar (actually, VHX allows you to pay more than that, should you be feeling generous). Your support goes directly to the development of my next film.
Ashley/Amber is also streaming on IndieFlix. Using these referral links, you can purchase a discounted subscription for $5/month, first month free or $35/year and access a curated collection of tons of sweet indie films, short and long.
Curious but don’t feel like shelling out a buck? You can still watch the less sexy, un-remastered version on Youtube.
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, Ashley/Amber is a 22min dark comedy about an antiwar activist who becomes an internet celebrity after being outed as the one-time star of porn video. It premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2011 and has since screened around the world. Travis Keune of We Are Movie Geeks calls it “an introspective short film about American politics and a skewed sense of morality.” sonnycarson86 of Youtube.com says “I liked the movie but show more tits next time.”
Will there be a next time? In addition to throwing me a dollar, you can help me make it easier for me to make the next film by sharing this one on your preferred social networks:
official press release: http://ashley-amber.com/2014/06/from-porn-to-politics
You can also sign-up for my email list for infrequent updates about future projects.