Panelist Biographies

Kamala_Lopez_-_1.jpgKamala Lopez is an actress, filmmaker, activist and President of Heroica Films, Kamala Lopez, has launched the movement and film Equal Means Equal, to educate Americans about the importance of equal rights under federal law for women.

Born in New York City to an Indian mother and a Venezuelan father, Lopez has worked as an actor in over thirty feature films and more than sixty television shows. She hosted the PBS series Wired Science.  Lopez, a Yale University graduate in Philosophy and Theatre Studies, formed production company Heroica Films in 1995 with the mission to write, direct and produce media for women, about women and utilizing women both in front and behind the camera.

Her film, A Single Woman, about the life of first Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin, won the 2009 Exceptional Merit in Media Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus. In 2013 her short Spanish-language film “Ese Beso” won the Jury Award at the Senorita Cinema Festival and the Audience Award at the Boyle Heights Latina Film Festival.

In 2009 Lopez began the ERA Education Project, creating multi-media PSA’s, video FAQ’s, social media campaigns, educational videos & sites, piloting curriculum and travelling around the country speaking to groups as well as students in colleges and high schools. She has been the Keynote or Featured Speaker in venues as disparate as the Smithsonian Institution’s National
Portrait Gallery, the United Nations, The National Arts Club, at the YaleWomen Global Conference as well as to “at-risk” girls and other children in former L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa’s Partnership for Los Angeles schools.

Lopez’s work on behalf of women and girls has been recognized by Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors and the Women’s
Commission who named her 2015 Woman of the Year (Arts/Media). In 2012 Women’s eNews selected her as one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century and the National Women’s Political Caucus named her the 2011 Woman of Courage.

Equal Means Equal is a labor of love that Lopez embarked on over seven years ago when she first realized that women still did not have Constitutional protections in the United States and that most Americans did not know that.

Zoe Nicholson is an author and activist who holds a B.A. in Theology, Quincy University and a M.A. in Ethics, USC. After teaching high school for five years, she opened and operated The Magic Speller Bookstore, a women’s bookstore in Newport Beach, CA. In 1982, she joined six women in Springfield, Illinois., in a public and political fast for 37 days in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Her memoir is The Hungry Heart ~ A Women's Fast for Justice, from Lune Soleil Press. She is a member of the ERA Roundtable, Pacific Shore NOW President and board member of the Veteran Feminists of America.

Melissa Bird, MSW is a passionate feminist whose education in social work has led to a career advocating for children, women and their families. She is a fierce believer in social justice advocacy and preparing women for leadership roles in politics. She has a wealth of experience working with policy makers, community leaders, and other stakeholders to improve access to reproductive health care for women, men and teens. Melissa is currently obtaining her PhD at the University of Southern California.

 


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