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Arts & Culture

POV: And She Could Be Next

Georgia’s Stacey Abrams (center) campaigns to become America’s first black woman governor.
Courtesy of Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia
Georgia’s Stacey Abrams (center) campaigns to become America’s first black woman governor.

Now streaming on PBS Video App

Two-part documentary features women of color transforming politics from the ground up

Part of Trailblazers, PBS' summer-long celebration of groundbreaking and transformative women.

In a polarized America, where the dual forces of white supremacy and patriarchy threaten to further erode our democracy, a game-changing transformation is happening at the grassroots.

As demographics shift toward a non-white majority, elections will be decided by Americans inspired to vote for the first time. Many of these voters, who are often black, brown, immigrant or poor, are ignored by politicians and journalists alike.

“And She Could Be Next,” is a two-part documentary series directed by Peabody Award-winner Grace Lee (“American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs”) and Iranian documentary filmmaker Marjan Safinia (“Seeds”). This is the first miniseries to be co-produced by POV, the longest-running documentary series on American television.

“And She Could Be Next” tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color who are transforming American politics from the ground up.

The documentary series, filmed from 2018 through 2019, follows forward-thinking candidates and organizers across the country, asking whether democracy itself can be preserved — and made stronger — by those most marginalized.

El Paso’s Veronica Escobar, a border-rights activist running for Congress, gives a speech. (undated photo)
Courtesy of Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia
El Paso’s Veronica Escobar, a border-rights activist running for Congress, gives a speech. (undated photo)

The episodes center individuals at the heart of the movement behind the New American Majority, including: Stacey Abrams (Georgia), Bushra Amiwala (Skokie, Illinois), Maria Elena Durazo (Los Angeles), Veronica Escobar (El Paso, Texas), Lucy McBath (Atlanta, Georgia), Rashida Tlaib (Detroit) and Nse Ufot, Executive Director of the New Georgia Project. The documentary also features an entirely women of color crew.

Detroit’s Rashida Tlaib campaigns to become the first Muslim woman in Congress.
Courtesy of Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia
Detroit’s Rashida Tlaib campaigns to become the first Muslim woman in Congress.

“If ever there was a moment where we need to be reminded of the leadership of women of color, that time is now,” said Ava DuVernay, one of the film’s executive producers. “If you’re an immigrant, a young person, a person of faith, or simply someone who has felt unseen for too long, you will find yourself reflected in this story.”

The first episode was an official selection of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, which has been postponed due to COVID-19 like many major events around the world.

“'And She Could Be Next' was slated to world premiere as part of our Tribeca TV section, where we intended to host a conversation with some of the incredible subjects featured,” said Cara Cusumano, director of the Tribeca Film Festival. “This story by and about women of color making change feels more timely than ever. The festival continues to support this remarkable project and encourages our audiences to discover it on POV.”

“This series brings passion, energy and hope in our uncertain times,” said Justine Nagan, executive producer for POV. “Supporting this project meant a chance to highlight the work of the bold women of color on the front lines in this country, as well as those behind the camera. We are proud to partner with PBS to bring this landmark work to American audiences on public media.”

Atlanta’s Lucy McBath, a gun control advocate who lost her son in a racially motivated killing, celebrates her House victory.
Courtesy of Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia
Atlanta’s Lucy McBath, a gun control advocate who lost her son in a racially motivated killing, celebrates her House victory.

EPISODE GUIDE:

Part 1: “Building The Movement” airs Monday, June 29 at 10 p.m. - This episode opens with the powerful reminder that “women of color have been the backbone of our communities forever.” An energetic montage of modern American civil rights movements – from women’s suffrage to Stonewall, Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock – brings us to the 2018 midterm elections where a new generation of women of color is ready to take the lead.

The documentary goes behind-the-scenes at local rallies, war rooms and church basements, where candidates and organizers embark on the campaign trail. We also witness the unique challenges they face, from well-resourced incumbents to systemic barriers that disproportionately affect black, brown and immigrant communities.

As we get to know these women, we see how they do not live “single issue lives” but are each a product of a larger movement–one that is coalition-based, intergenerational and interfaith.

Members of Asians for Abrams, supporters of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, perform a canvass.
Courtesy of Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia
Members of Asians for Abrams, supporters of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, perform a canvass.

Part 2: “Claiming Power” airs Tuesday, June 30 at 10 p.m. - This episode takes us to the weeks leading up to election day and focuses on how organizers combat voter suppression in their own communities. At the heart of the episode is a growing multi-ethnic coalition in Georgia, a state with a rich history of civil rights organizing and poised to be a “majority minority” state as early as 2025.

In addition to the New Georgia Project, groups like Mijente and Asians for Abrams put boots on the ground to address language barriers, poll purges and “exact match” laws that impact thousands of voters across the state. As results roll in, there is celebration for some and disappointment for others–but for these community organizers, the work does not stop when the polls close.

Through it all, these women present a collective vision of political power that is rooted in care, dignity and joy, and remind us that there is an organizer in all of us.

Members of Care in Action, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group dedicated to fighting for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, march in support of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Courtesy of Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia
Members of Care in Action, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group dedicated to fighting for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, march in support of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

A CELEBRATION OF TRAILBLAZING WOMEN

Join KPBS’s summer-long celebration of women trailblazers in honor of the women’s vote centennial, featuring special programming commemorating U.S. women’s suffrage, the feminist movement and modern-day changemakers.

Watch On Your Schedule:

This film will stream online on POV.org in concurrence with its broadcast.

Watch with the PBS Video App or full episodes of POV are available to view online with the KPBS Video Player for a limited time after broadcast.

Join The Conversation:

POV is on Facebook, and you can follow @povdocs on Twitter. #RescueListPBS

"And She Could Be Next" is on Facebook and Instagram. Follow @Shecouldbenext on Twitter.

Credits:

In association with POV, “And She Could Be Next” is produced by Grace Lee, Marjan Safinia and Jyoti Sarda and directed by Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia. Contributing field directors: Yoruba Richen, Geeta Gandbhir, Amber Fares, Deborah Esquenazi, Ramona Emerson and Anayansi Prado. Academy Award nominee and Emmy, BAFTA, Peabody winner Ava DuVernay is an executive producer and Justine Nagan and Chris White are the executive producers for POV.

“As America’s home for documentaries, PBS has a longstanding commitment to programming that reflects the great diversity of our country,” said Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO. “We are proud to share the stories of a new generation of women who are changing the face of politics.”