A film championing change

Director makes surprise “appearance” to discuss women’s rights documentary

“There are no more excuses,” appeared  on the screen at the Ferris screening of the documentary film “Equal Means Equal,” which explored how women are treated in the United States in a provocative way.

Ferris’ Office of Multicultural Student Services (OMSS) hosted the event and revealed a surprise opportunity after the film to chat with the writer and director of the documentary, Kamala Lopez.

The viewing room in Business 111 was full of students and faculty. Crimes against women, such as sexual assault, were highlighted in the film and were unsettling for those who did not expect the graphic imagery.

“I wasn’t surprised but the statistics shocked me. Seeing it all together made me pretty sick and I just want to take action now and become more involved,” said Ferris undecided freshman Emily Shewan.

The film enlightened students who were previously unaware of the urgency surrounding the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Ferris social work junior Johanna Vander Ploeg came to the event because she wanted to learn more about how legislation affected women’s rights.

“I learned that discrimination towards women runs deeper than just not getting paid the same as men,” Vander Ploeg said. “It’s rooted in laws passed by the federal government where women receive little protection from corporations.”

After the documentary, a short panel discussion with Ferris faculty members summarized points in the film while students waited to speak with Lopez.

“It’s not just about women. When we mistreat, oppress and unjustly treat women what we’re actually doing is giving permission to other groups to be treated that way,” said Ferris assistant psychology professor Penny Nichols-Whitehead.

Lopez responded to questions from the audience over the phone after a brief introduction by Ferris Associate Provost Dr. Roberta Teahen.

“I personally think that we must include men in this struggle because without them we will never win this war,” Lopez said. “It makes no sense whatsoever that the only civil rights struggle in this country that has failed is the fight that has no men as it’s members. We cannot allow that to stand anymore.”

To get involved on campus, the National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter at Ferris meets 7:30 p.m. in FLITE 438 on the first and third Thursday of every month.