Stephanie Land on her best-selling memoir Maid; plus the team behind the new documentary Blowin’ Up discusses the first ever U.S. problem solving court dedicated to sex work. Subscribe to Off-Kilter on iTunes.

This week on Off-Kilter, in lieu of ICYMI, we take a break from the news cycle to share some of what we’re reading and watching this month.

First: “’Maid’ is a dainty word, redolent of tea trays, starched uniforms, Downton Abbey. But in reality, the maid’s world is encrusted with grime and shit stains. These workers unclog our drains of pubic hairs, they witness our dirty laundry literally and metaphorically. Yet, they remain invisible — overlooked in our nation’s politics and policies, looked down upon at our front doors.” So reads the foreword to Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive. Rebecca talks with the book’s author Stephanie Land, who also serves as a Community Change writing fellow and a frequent contributor to

Later in the show: Nestled in one New York City’s outer boroughs is the Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court — the rare place in the American criminal justice system that seeks not to retraumatize and lock up women who work as sex workers — but to treat them as actual human beings. Through director Stephanie Wang-Breal’s empathic and feminist documentary Blowin’ Up, which hits theaters this week, viewers get a rare glimpse into the lives of women who are just trying to survive — and the lawyers and judges trying to help them. To tell the story behind the first ever dedicated sex trafficking court in the U.S. and the women who pass through it, Rebecca talks with Stephanie Wang-Breal, the film’s director, as well as the judge that presides over the court, the Honorable Toko Serita.

  • Stephanie Land, author of Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive
  • Stephanie Wang-Breal, director of Blowin’ Up
  • Judge Toko Serita, presiding judge, Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court

*Important public service announcement* — The deadline to comment on Trump’s proposed rule to take food stamps away from 755,000 Americans has been extended by a week. Because of a technical glitch, the Federal Register site stopped accepting public comments for a period of time, so the U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the comment deadline to midnight on April 10 and will remain live & accepting comments until then.

Commenting makes a difference. As we discussed in last week’s DJI takeover of Off-Kilter, a similarly destructive policy in two states’ Medicaid programs was recently blocked by a federal judge who cited public comments as instrumental in his decision to reject the changes.

So keep ’em coming!

Off-Kilter is a podcast about poverty and inequality — and everything they intersect with. Hosted by Rebecca Vallas and powered by CAP Action.

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