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“Belly of the Beast” Film Screening + Panel Discussion about Illegal Sterilizations in California’s Women’s Prisons
May 4 @ 12:00 pm - 3:30 pm
The Race, Gender and Human Rights Fund is pleased to invite you to join us and our cohosts for an important discussion and screening featuring the documentary film, Belly of the Beast, which follows illegal sterilizations in California’s women’s prisons and the struggle of impacted women and advocates to see this practice come to light, finally end, and to find a measure of justice for survivors.
A community screening of the film will be held on May 4th from 12-1:30pm PST, followed by a panel discussion from 2-3:30pm PST with lead individuals in the film, the filmmaker, and advocates working on the Sterilization Compensation Bill (CA – AB 1007). The bill will provide reparations for survivors of forced sterilizations in California. Attendees will also have the option of viewing the film on their own in advance of May 4th. Additional details are below. Please register here and feel free to share with others. We hope you will join us.
Speakers: Kelli Dillon (Executive Director of Back to the Basics Community Empowerment), Cynthia Chandler (Co-founder, Critical Resistance and Justice Now, Erika Cohn, (Director/Producer,
Cosponsors: Race, Gender, and Human Rights Fund, California Gender Justice Funders Network, East Bay Community Foundation, California Criminal Justice Funders Group, and the Women’s Foundation of California.
About the Film: When an unlikely duo discovers a pattern of illegal sterilizations in women’s prisons, they wage a near impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. Filmed over seven years with extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, BELLY OF THE BEAST exposes modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice in California prisons.
The pastoral farmlands surrounding the Central California Women’s Facility, the world’s largest women’s prison, conceals the reproductive and human rights violations transpiring inside its walls. A courageous young woman, who was involuntarily sterilized at the age of 24 while incarcerated, teams up with a radical lawyer to stop these violations. They spearhead investigations that uncover a series of statewide crimes, primarily targeting women of color, from inadequate access to healthcare to sexual assault to illegal sterilization. Together, with a team of tenacious heroines, both in and out of prison, they take to the courtroom to fight for reparations. But no one believes them. As additional damning evidence is uncovered by the Center for Investigative Reporting, a media frenzy and series of hearings provide hope for some semblance of justice. Yet, doctors and prison officials contend that the procedures were in each person’s best interest and of an overall social benefit. Invoking the weight of the historic legacy of eugenics, BELLY OF THE BEAST presents a decade long, infuriating contemporary legal drama.