Common Ground#778

A Conversation on Abortion & Reproductive Justice

Featuring Emma Pildes, Tia Lessin, and Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, with Cat Tyc


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Directors of The Janes Emma Pildes and Tia Lessin join Rail Editor-at-Large Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Cat Tyc.

In this talk

More on the Janes (2022) →

Emma Pildes

Photo of Emma Pildes
Emmy-nominated filmmaker Emma Pildes has an extensive background in, and boundless love for, non-fiction storytelling. The Janes is Emma’s directorial debut. As one of Pentimento Productions’ principal producers, Emma produced Spielberg, Jane Fonda in Five Acts, and Very Ralph – all for HBO Documentary Films. At PBS’ American Masters, Emma helped to produce the Emmy and Peabody-award winning LennoNYC, Emmy-award winning Inventing David Geffen, as well as American Masters: Billie Jean King. Born and raised in Chicago, Emma graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and is based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America.

Tia Lessin

Photo of Tia Lessin
Tia Lessin was nominated for an Academy Award for her work as a director and producer of the Hurricane Katrina survival story Trouble the Water, winner of the 2008 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and the Gotham Independent Film Award. She has also directed and produced Citizen Koch and The Janes. Lessin was a producer of Academy Award-winning Bowling for Columbine, and the Grammy-winning No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, among others. Lessin is a past fellow of the Open Society Institute and the Sundance Institute and has served as an advisor to IFP, Sundance and Creative Capital artists. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Directors Guild of America.

Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper

A photo of Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper
Community builder Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper served as Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church from 2006 to 2021. She was formerly at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami and before that at Yale University, and teaches leadership at the Hartford Seminary. As an elder, she is passionately concerned about leaving the next generation well-prepared for all they have to face. She has written over 35 books including Approaching End of Life: A Practical and Spiritual Guide (2015), Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems, Solving Everything (2013), to her most recent book I Heart Francis: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer (2016), among many others. She is an Editor-at-Large at the Rail.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Cat Tyc reading.

Cat Tyc

Photo of Cat Tyc
Cat Tyc is an interdisciplinary writer/artist who has three chapbooks, most recently I AM BECAUSE MY LITTLE DOG KNOWS ME (Blush Lit). Her most recent writing has published in _Maggot Brain, The Recluse, and elsewhere. She has presented and performed at Microscope Gallery, Anthology Film Archives, Brooklyn Museum, and elsewhere. She has directed music videos that have been added to the rotation on LOGO’s NewNowNext and MTVu. Her first solo exhibition, SIGNIFICANT OTHERNRESS, was presented at Tanja Grunert gallery in 2022. She has been granted residencies and fellowships at Signal Culture and The Flaherty Seminar and has received support from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts. She teaches writing at the School of the Visual Arts and lives in Hudson, NY.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.