Here's Why 'OITNB' Fans Need to Watch Netflix's 'Amend: The Fight for America'

Samira Wiley

Netflix's new docu-series, Amend: The Fight for America, is walking us through history — and leading the way are a few familiar faces and voices.

Orange Is the New Black star Samira Wiley narrates the episode premiering this week, which includes a look at late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, including her speech to Congress amid her 1993 confirmation hearing.

"It is part of our history," says Wiley. "A sad part of our history, but undeniably a part of our history, that the 14th Amendment — that great amendment that changed so much in this nation — was not intended by its framers immediately to change the status of women."

Wiley continues with Ginsburg's speech: "It allowed a system to persist in the United States where women couldn't vote, they couldn't hold office, if they married they couldn't hold property in their own name. I remain an advocate of the Equal Rights Amendment for this reason. I have a daughter and a granddaughter. I know what the history was. I would like the legislators of this country and of all the states to stand up and say we know what that history was, we want to make a clarion announcement that women and men are equal before the law. I would like to see that statement made just that way in the U.S. Constitution."

In the Wake of War

The six-part legal docu-series explores the ratification of the 14th amendment in the wake of the Civil War. The amendment stresses that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." It was initially carved out to grant citizenship to those who were previously enslaved; it has since become a road toward equality not only for the Black community in America but also for other minorities, such as women and members of the LGBTQ community.

Host Will Smith called the amendment “the center of the promise of America" and stressed that he hopes the series will "share a message of connection and shared humanity so that we will be able to better understand and celebrate our different experiences as Americans and promote progress toward the true equality."

In addition to Smith and Wiley, the star-studded cast of the series also features Mahershala Ali, Diane Lane, Samuel L. Jackson, Pedro Pascal, Laverne Cox, Hannah Gadsby, Randall Park, Lena Waithe, Daveed Diggs, Yara Shahidi, and more.

This post is part of a monthlong February CircleAround series tied to Black History Month — the first since the loud calls for social justice this past summer — in which we asked writers to explore the topic of race in America from a variety of perspectives. The murder of George Floyd last summer catalyzed a national reckoning on race, with many questions to be answered. To see all the posts in the series — including relevant news stories — visit hereAnd if you'd like to contribute to the series, send us your thoughts to info@circlearound.com or post on our "2021 Inspiration Wall."


CircleAround is operated by a wholly owned subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA. The site serves adult women nationwide by providing content that is uplifting, thought-provoking, and useful. We make revenue distributions back to GSUSA so they can further their mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

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