Kamala Lopez

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 for women under federal law. Born in New York City to an Indian mother and a Venezuelan father, Lopez graduated from Yale University with a degree in Philosophy and Theatre Studies. She has appeared in over 30 feature films, including Born in East L.A., Deep Cover, The Burning Season (winner of two Emmys, three Golden Globes, and the Humanitas Prize), Clear and Present Danger, Lightning Jack, and I Heart Huckabees; has starred in over 60 television shows, including Medium, 24, Alias, NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, and 21 Jump Street (winner of the Imagen Award); and hosted the PBS series Wired Science. Lopez formed the 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 multimedia PSAs, video FAQs, social media campaigns, educational videos and sites, piloting curriculum, and traveling around the country speaking to various 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 Yale Women Global Conference, and has spoken to “at-risk” girls and other children in 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 were not aware of that.


Equal Means Equal: A Wake-Up Call to Women

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Open to any author writing in English about the Chicanx/Latinx experience, the Rivera Book Prize is committed to the discovery and fostering of extraordinary writing by a first-time or early career author whose work examines the long and varied contributions of Chicanx/Latinx in the US. The Rivera Book Prize aims to provide a platform that showcases the emerging literary talent of the Chicanx/Latinx community, to cultivate the next generation of Chicanx/Latinx writers, and to continue the rich literary memory of Tomás Rivera, Chicano author, poet, activist, and educator.

Entry Fee: $35. Entry fees are non-refundable.

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