WE STAND UP.

A feature documentary following a group of women activists striving to affirm life in the face of an American crisis.


Below are two short pieces introducing the women of We Stand Up. All footage was shot in 2018. In 2019 Rebel House Studios and The Bennett Sisters will continue to fundraise for the completion of the feature documentary.


Introducing the women of We Stand Up : Meet Pastor Annette Higdon and a group of teenage activists from Cairo, Georgia. As an activist and a social worker she empowers underserved communities by organizing literacy courses at her church, housing programs, voting summits, and providing support for incarcerated women and their families. She makes way for the next generation of young activists by encouraging her granddaughter Kristen and friends to start their own activist movement, an intergenerational exchange which honors the legacy of civil rights workers while making it clear that grassroots organizing is alive and well.

SUMMARY

We Stand Up is a tribute to the unrecognized Black women leaders and activists in the US who, for generations, have been at the forefront of catapulting the fight for human rights from the margins of society to the national stage. It started in rural Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia - or what is better known as The Black Belt - where these women created the most formative and crucial policy changes in our country’s history from the eradication of lynching to voting rights acts, desegregation, Head Start programs, and the ever-prescient War on Poverty.

We Stand Up chronicles the enduring legacy of these often-ignored female heroes of social justice from the 1960s through present day, while charting their direct influence on the eruptive new wave of female movement makers currently in The Black Belt. The same women who started their fight in the 60s are now teaching the next generation who are causing a sensation today.

We invite you to witness history in the making as Black women of all ages motivate and enact monumental political change at a time when we are facing another crucial juncture in our history and on the brink of the most consequential campaign season in our time. These hidden figures of movements for social justice claim their place at the epicenter of political progress and come center stage after generations of being denied that right.

We Stand Up follows, in real time, the female led organizations and coalitions from The Southern Black Women’s Initiative to The Black Women’s Roundtable who are leading the charge in the fight to change the current political landscape with grassroots ‘get out the vote’ campaigns that engage the young people from their communities. Their energy and power are palpable and unstoppable, from turning Alabama blue with the Doug Jones victory to the campaign for Stacey Abrams in Georgia who, if elected, will be the first African American woman governor in the United States. Join these heroes, and experience a movement that could restore the sanctity of our democracy, inspire women across the country, and right the wrongs of American history.

Introducing the women of We Stand Up : Meet the organizers of Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative (SRBWI), a branch of The Children’s Defense Fund with a mentorship and advocacy program reaching students ages 15-25. SRBWI is a collective of women leaders across Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia dedicated to lifting up Black women and families in rural, impoverished areas.


“For generations, Black women have been at the very foundations of the South — mothers, aunts, innovators, activists, leaders and inspirations in the very heart of rural communities. They “made a way out of no way” — and that tenacity is far from gone."

- From the Mission Statement of the Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative (SRBWI)


THE FILMMAKERS SOCIAL IMPACT INITIATIVE

In coordination with the production of We Stand Up, the filmmakers and Rebel House Studios are working with Southern Rural Black Woman’s Initiative (SRBWI) to redevelop New Visions, a media program focused on mentoring young women in the art of storytelling and filmmaking. This apprenticeship training enables mentorees to tell their stories through the medium of film, giving them a platform to be heard while creating a channel for civic engagement and activism. The filmmakers have partnered with Google who is providing the program with pixel phones as storytelling devices for the students.

In partnership with Mississippi's Film Commissioner the We Stand Up team will specifically be engaging with the program's New Visions track, which focuses on filmmaking and new media (including writing, sound, art, technology and social media). Their efforts will align with the programs goals to expand the programs resources and help provide the students with the skills they will need for job placement in their desired field.

LUCILLE AND FRANK  Tuncia, Mississippi (Sugar Ditch), 1986  By Jane Rule Burdine

LUCILLE AND FRANK Tuncia, Mississippi (Sugar Ditch), 1986

By Jane Rule Burdine

UNDER HER SKIN

Please view the trailer for Under Her Skin, the short film directed by the Bennett sisters which is a character portrait of photographer and Mississippi native Jane Rule Burdine. The piece recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was the inspiration for We Stand Up

Click to view full screener of UNDER HER SKIN and please enter password: sugarditch.