Producer/director Gini Reticker
(A Decade Under the Influence
, Class of 2006
) turns her attentions to the topic of peaceful protest by exploring the efforts of Liberian Leymah Gbowee in ridding her government of corruption and paving the way for the election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf -- Africa's first elected female head of state. Shortly after Charles Taylor was elected as president of Liberia in 1996, he proved to be a hopelessly corrupt dictator. Opposing warlords from the north were terrorizing, raping, and murdering Liberians by the hundreds of thousands, sparking a bloody civil war, and many speculated that Taylor was quietly supporting them from the sidelines. Gbowee had already lived through one civil war, and the prospect of another was simply too much to bear. Determined to bring peace to her troubled country, Gbowee called on everyday Liberian women from neighboring churches to form the Christian Women's Peace Initiative -- a group dedicated to protesting the war that had claimed 250,000 lives and displaced over a million citizens. The women of the Christian Women's Peace Initiative dressed in white and came out to protest the war by the thousands, even going so far as to surround the building in Ghana where the peace talks were taking place and physically prevent the men from leaving until a deal had been bartered. In addition to proving that peaceful protest could indeed affect change in times of unparalleled strife, the Christian Women's Peace Initiative also helped pave the way for Johnson-Sirleaf to be elected as Liberia's first-ever female president.