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A Call to Act

About the Film

Gadsden, Alabama is home of the Noccalula Falls and the Broad St. Bridge. It’s also home to a Goodyear Tire plant … and a hardworking grandmother whose fight for equality would take her from the factory floor, to the Supreme Court, and all the way to the White House.

Lilly Ledbetter didn’t set out to be a hero. For almost 20 years, as an area manager – much of that time the only female manager at the plant – she supervised the making of tons of radial tires, managed the men who made them, won awards for her skills, and loved her job. After almost 20 years she was about to quietly retire.

Then one day, just before starting a 12-hour shift, she found handwritten note in her mailbox. It was stunning: a list of salaries that included Ledbetter’s and those of some male colleagues. It turned out that the entire time she’d worked at the Goodyear plant, most of two decades, she’d been paid less – substantially less – that her male counterparts. Not only that, but her pension was tied to her salary, meaning that for the rest of her life, Ledbetter would get less – substantially less – that her male colleagues. “Now if that’s not discrimination,” Ledbetter says, “I don’t know what it is.”

Ledbetter sued and a jury agreed, awarding her over $3 million. Goodyear appealed the verdict and for years the case wound its way through the court system. In 2007, the case reached the United States Supreme Court – nearly a decade after it was originally filed. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled in Goodyear’s favor. Lilly Ledbetter had lost.

Even though that meant Ledbetter could never recover the lost pay and pension for herself, that didn’t mean she gave up fighting for others. She testified at Congressional committee hearings, appeared at political rallies, gave interviews to the media, and even spoke at a national political convention. Congress heard her and sent a bill to the White House that would prevent anyone else from being treated the way Lilly Ledbetter was. In January of 2009, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act became the first law signed by President Obama.

“If an individual believes and got the grit that it takes,” Lilly Ledbetter explains, “they can stand up and continue fighting and make a difference.”

A Call to Act: Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. tells the story of a remarkable fight for equality and fairness. As Senior Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett says about Lilly Ledbetter, “She was willing to fight hard on behalf of all the other women who still had an opportunity to be treated equally.”


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Credits

Writer, Producer and Narrator, Robe Imbriano
Associate Producer, Gregory Blanc
Editor, Marc Tidalgo
Graphics Animators, Victoria Nece and Hiroaki Sasa
Photography, Edward Marritz and Daniel O’Shea
Production Associate, Andy Ogden
Consultant, María E. Matasar-Padilla
Coordinating Producers, Christina Lowery and Heidi Christenson
Sound, Mark Mandler and Derek Johnston
Music, Ben Decter and Gavin Allen
Additional Field Production, Carla Denly
Additional Graphics, Tristian Goik
Interns, Andrew Mangino and Carla Altaras
Production Accountants, Mara Connolly and Andrea Yellen
Assistant to the Executive Producer, Lauren Mitte
Senior Producer, Kayce Freed Jennings
Executive Producer, Tom Yellin

The Bill of Rights

A Film and Interactive Game.

We all know that the Constitution guarantees every American certain basic rights: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to assembly, the right to a jury trial are just some of the rights explicitly protected by our Constitution. But these freedoms weren’t in the original version of the Constitution. In fact, many of the framers of the Constitution were dead set against including them in the document.

James Madison, who would become the fourth President of the United States, was the document’s primary author. Called the “Father of the Constitution,” Madison didn’t think we needed a Bill of Rights and the document that emerged from the Convention in 1787 reflected his conviction. He believed the Constitution as it was written already spelled out what the Federal Government could do – and, he believed, if it wasn’t in that document, it wasn’t any of the Federal Government’s business. No further protection was necessary.

Others among the Founders, such as Virginia delegate George Mason, vigorously disagreed. They weren’t so sure that the new government would be any better than the British had been. A long and bloody war to win independence had only recently ended, after all, and Mason wanted to ensure that the new government could not erase the freedoms they’d fought hard to secure. He declared that he would rather “chop off my right hand” than support a Constitution that did not include a Bill of Rights.

So, just a few years after the original Constitution was written, a new political battle ensued, pitting the Founding Fathers against one another and threatening the ratification of the document over which they’d wrestled so hard and long to create. The Federalists, including Madison, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, feared that if some rights were listed, others not explicitly enumerated would be left vulnerable. On the other side, the Anti-federalists, including Mason, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, were adamant that the Constitution must guarantee certain fundamental rights that no government could take away. They believed that not listing rights risked there not being any rights.

Both a film and video game, “The Bill of Rights” tells the story of a struggle that nearly tore the country apart before it had really even been established. But out of their compromise came one of our nation’s most central documents and the foundation for some of our most celebrated freedoms.

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Further Reading

Read the Bill of Rights and See the Original Document at the National Archives

Learn more about James Madison

 

Credits

Producer, Writer and Narrator, Robe Imbriano
Field Producer, Carla Denly
Associate Producers, Thomas Beckner and Gregory Blanc
Editor, Marc Tidalgo
Graphics Animators, Victoria Nece, Hiroaki Sasa and Tristian Goik
Photography, Edward Marritz
Senior Production Associate, Charles Farrell
Production Associate, Andy Ogden
Supervising Producer, Christina Lowery
Sound, Mark Mandler
Music, Ben Decter
Additional Photography, Mark Stoddard and Thomas Beckner
Production Accountants, Mara Connolly and Andrea Yellen
Intern, Brian Taylor
Assistant to the Executive Producer, Lauren Mitte
Senior Producer, Kayce Freed Jennings
Executive Producer, Tom Yellin