Our Stories. Our Medicine.  In conversation with Ericka Huggins, moderated by Valerie Woods


Reel Sisters Lecture Series 2018

Sponsored by Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

The great author Zora Neale Hurston once said: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

On Oct. 20, 2018, the Reel Sisters Lecture Series & Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting presented Our Stories. Our Medicine. In Conversation with Ericka Huggins moderated by award-winning television and film writer/producer Valerie Woods. The Reel Sisters Lecture Series presentation was held at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in downtown Brooklyn.

Recorded in Oakland, CA for Reel Sisters of the Diaspora 2018, the video featured above is an excerpt from a 40-minute interview with activist, poet, and educator, Ericka Huggins. She explores the transformative and healing power of speaking the truth of our stories. As the longest-serving woman in Black Panther Party leadership, a former political prisoner, widowed at 20 and separated from her newborn daughter for two years awaiting trial, Ms. Huggins turned to meditation to keep her sanity. Her spiritual practices have served to sustain her as a mother, grandmother, and social justice activist.

“The more we talk the more we heal,” says Ms. Huggins. This presentation is moderated by Valerie Woods, a Stephens College MFA TV and Screenwriting Mentor and writer/producer, currently in development on a documentary on Ms. Huggins’ remarkable life. Ms. Woods is also a long-time meditator which has sustained her through 25+ years in the entertainment industry. The conversation concluded with a #Time4Self meditation session.



Valerie C. Woods is a writer/producer in television and film and is also a publisher, editor, and author. Valerie is currently Adjunct Faculty for the Stephens College Low Residency MFA Television & Screenwriting program and was appointed Creative Director for Syd Field – The Art of Visual Storytelling. Valerie is one of four Syd Field Screenwriting Method Instructors trained by Mr. Field. Valerie wrote the screen adaptation of the novel Tempest Rising by Diane McKinney-Whetstone, with the production company of actor/director Phylicia Rashad. Valerie is also a Co-Executive Producer/writer for the in-development mini-series Tulsa.

During Valerie’s 20+ years as a member of WGAw, she has written on one-hour drama series for CBSLifetime, and Showtime. Credits include Co-Executive Producer/Writer on the drama series, Any Day Now on Lifetime Network. Her episode “Family is Family” was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award, and Consulting Producer/Writer for the drama series, Soul Food on Showtime Network.


Ericka Huggins 
is an educator, former Black Panther Party member, and political prisoner, human rights activist and poet.

For 37 years Ericka has lectured in the United States, and internationally on human rights, Restorative Justice and, the role of spiritual practice in sustaining activism and promoting social change. She highlights the importance of inclusive grassroots movements that honor the voices of the marginalized, especially youth.

Ericka’s work as a speaker and facilitator is based in her belief in the greatness of each human heart. She believes that each of us has the ability to look there for the answers to questions about the future of our world.