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No Time To Waste
The Urgent Mission of Betty Reid Soskin

Celebrates legendary 100-year-old park ranger Betty Reid Soskin's inspiring life, work and urgent mission to restore critical missing chapters of America's story.

A printer-friendly version of this page 52 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Carl Bidleman
Writer, Editor: Carl Bidleman
Director of Photography: Stefan Ruenzel
Executive Producers: Marsha Mather-Thrift, Doug McConnell
Narrator: Carl Bidleman
A Digital Story Company Production in association with Rosie the Riveter Trust

"Warm, wonderfuI...It will provoke thoughtful conversations about how history might be told where you live now." Mark Stoll, Prof. Env'l History, Texas Tech Univ
[Note: Community screenings of NO TIME TO WASTE can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]

NO TIME TO WASTE celebrates legendary 99-year-old park ranger Betty Reid Soskin's inspiring life, work and urgent mission to restore critical missing chapters of America's story. The film follows her journey as an African American woman presenting her personal story from a kitchen stool in a national park theater to media interviews and international audiences who hang on every word she utters.

The documentary captures her fascinating life—from the experiences of a young Black woman in a WWII segregated union hall, through her multi-faceted career as a singer, activist, mother, legislative representative and park planner to her present public role.

At the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, Betty illuminates the invisible histories of African Americans and other people of color. Her efforts have changed the way the National Park Service conveys this history to audiences across the U.S., challenging us all to move together toward a more perfect union.

Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2020     Copyright Date: 2019
DVD ISBN: 1-948745-56-9

"Touching and engaging...Nonagenarian Soskin reminds viewers of the importance of telling the complete American story - one that recognizes racial and gender discrimination and celebrates the accomplishments of African Americans - so that we, as a nation, can understand from whence we came and where we should be heading in order to create, as she states is her mission, 'a more perfect union.' No Time To Waste is an inspiring film that spotlights Soskin being ' history' and encourages others to do the same."
Traci Parker, Associate Professor African American History, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Author, Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement

"You may have never heard of Soskin before watching this compelling program, but it's guaranteed that you will not forget her, both as an inspiring speaker who has influenced the way the National Park system has become more inclusive in presenting past history and as a vibrant role model for young and old alike...Highly recommended."
Sue-Ellen Beauregard, Booklist

"Everyone has a story to tell. Indeed. I highly recommend this film for African American, Environmental, Recreation and Tourism, and Women's studies. It is a topic that is discussed so little in African American and Women's studies, yet this documentary is an integral fabric of the American quilt."
Monique Threatt, Indiana University, Educational Media Reviews Online

"As a historian, Soskin shoots from the hip, which usually means venturing into America's fraught history of race relations and the realities of racial prejudice and discrimination that often get ignored by mainstream textbook histories of 20th century US history...No Time to Waste is an apt tribute to a modern-day civil rights icon now finally getting her fair due albeit in the twilight of her life. Recommended."
Michael Sandlin, Video Librarian

"Soskin's personality will inspire and delight viewers from middle school age through adult, as she shares stories with emphasis on contributions from people of color, a group she is determined will not be overlooked."
Maggie Knapp, School Library Journal

"Betty is an exemplar of successful aging but, more largely, is an example of a successful human being who also happens to be old. It was a privilege to view this film and to hear her story."
Rick J. Scheidt, Kansas State University, The Gerontologist

"No Time to Waste tells a valuable story of historic preservation and history-making. Betty Reid Soskin's work in the National Parks Service exemplifies the ways we can learn about even the most uncomfortable parts of our own histories while empowering us to actively engage in not making the mistakes of our past."
Marne L Campbell, Associate Professor, African American Studies, Loyola Marymount University

"A warm, wonderful, delightful, and moving portrait of one of the most interesting and charismatic people in the National Park Service. The film tells how Betty Reid Soskin has helped teach National Parks how to tell America's history while including the stories of Americans who have traditionally been left out, even the painful parts. It will provoke thoughtful conversations about how history might be told where you live now."
Mark Stoll, Professor of Environmental History, Texas Tech University, Co-editor, To Love the Wind and the Rain: African Americans and Environmental History

"No Time To Waste allows us to spend some time in the presence of inimitable Betty Reid Soskin, a gifted public historian who has spent her life working for the greater good...This is a captivating documentary, one that offers a compelling portrait of this remarkable woman."
Erica L. Ball, Professor of History, Chair of Black Studies, Occidental College, Author, Madam C. J. Walker: The Making of an American Icon

"Betty Reid Soskin demonstrates the importance of finding one's own voice, and using it, calmly and fearlessly, to speak truth to power. As she refuses to allow her own past to be ignored, Soskin, born in 1921, reveals the vital role that history plays in all our lives. This surprising and inspiring documentary will inform and spark discussion on a wide variety of topics, including not only issues of race, gender, and aging, but the importance of history and who's responsible for its telling."
Nancy C. Unger, Professor of History, Santa Clara University, Author, Beyond Nature's Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History

"No Time to Waste encourages Americans of all ages and walks of life to see more fully who 'we the people' are. With wisdom and integrity, Betty Reid Soskin speaks to the complexity of this nation's history, honoring the many cultural and historical threads defining our larger American experience. She exemplifies what it means to be a responsible citizen and inspires a principled life. Betty inspires life, period. This documentary could be used for elementary through postsecondary school levels, its lessons reaching children and adults. I hope countless others will be as deeply moved as I have been."
Lauret E. Savoy, David B. Truman Professor of Environmental Studies, Mount Holyoke College, Author, Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape

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DVDs include public performance rights.

Awards and Festivals
Best Social Impact Documentary, ReadingFilmFEST
United Nations Association Film Festival
Salem Film Festival
Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival
Global Peace Film Festival
Legacy Film Festival on Aging

African-American Studies
American Studies
Citizenship and Civics
Gender Studies
Labor and Work Issues
Oral History
Race and Racism
Women's Studies

Related Titles

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Power to Heal
The untold story of how the twin struggles for racial justice and healthcare intersected: creating Medicare and desegregating thousands of hospitals at the same time.

A Dangerous Idea
Examines the history of the US eugenics movement and its recent resurrection, which uses false scientific claims and holds that an all-powerful "gene" determines who is worthy and who is not.

... more Reviews

"Soskin reminds us that one person's story can bear witness and fill in the gaping holes in our national story."
Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times

"There is good reason for Betty Reid Soskin's compelling message that she - and we - have no time to waste in the continuing fight for racial justice, workplace rights, and environmental protection."
Steve Early, Beyond Chron, The Voice of the Rest

"No Time To Waste chronicles how the power of one person, through the simple act of sharing her own personal history, changed how our National Park Service operates. Viewers will be inspired by that simplest of philosophies that it is never too late to start telling your own story...Lifelong learners will especially appreciate how the values of experience, wisdom, and dedication translated into national recognition for Betty Reid Soskin."
Michael Ezra, Professor of American Multicultural Studies, Sonoma State University, Editor, Civil Rights Movement: People and Perspectives

"We're all rooting for Betty Reid Soskin, the Black woman who at age 85 became a park ranger to set the record straight. Dispelling the myth of seamless national unity in the face of fascism, Betty grips audiences with her personal stories that center Black Americans' experiences with racism on the home front during World War II. Given today's national reckoning on race, there is no better time to learn from riveting storytellers like Betty Reid Soskin."
Maryan Soliman, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, Scripps College

"Betty Reid Soskin is an American heroine and patriot. By challenging the racialized and gendered narratives of WWII, Soskin's candor, wit, and optimism affirm that it's never too late to share our truth. No Time To Waste is a must-see documentary to better understand why the stories we tell, honoring the complexity and diversity of the American past, are the ones with the most power to inspire and unite us."
De Anna Reese, Professor of History and Africana Studies, California State University-Fresno

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