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June 8, 2021

NETFLIX Bio Pic Star: Virginia Walden Ford: Amplify Your Voice, Episode 119

NETFLIX Bio Pic Star: Virginia Walden Ford: Amplify Your Voice, Episode 119

This interview's guest has a NETFLIX movie made about her life! Are you living up to your responsibility to make a difference? Once terrified of public speaking, Virginia Walden Ford is now a leading advocate for expanding educational opportunities for American students and the subject of the feature film “Miss Virginia,” available on Netflix. She joins the show to talk about accepting, and eventually embracing, the call on her life to change educational outcomes for her own son -- and for other children. 

And you'll love Kelly and Maria's interview questions, insights and takeaways!

Episode Topics and Mentions

Miss Virginia, feature film

Uzo Aduba

Matthew Modine

Fear of public speaking

Parent empowerment

School choice

D.C. Parents for School Choice

D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program

Washington, D.C.

Fairfax County

Harriet Tubman

Little Rock 9


Little Rock Central High School

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Moving Picture Institute

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Virginia Walden FordProfile Photo

Virginia Walden Ford

Author, Miss Virginia and School Choice

Virginia Walden Ford is one of America’s leading advocates for parent empowerment. As a student, a mother, an advocate, and a grandmother, Virginia has spent her lifetime fighting to create new educational opportunities for children and families.

Virginia Walden Ford is best known for the feature film Miss Virginia, of which she is the subject. The starring role was played by Emmy-award winner Uzo Aduba, and other stars include Matthew Modine, Vanessa WIlliams and Amirah Vann.

While she was raising her three children in Washington, D.C., Virginia was shocked that so many children were forced to attend failing, crumbling schools simply because they lived in the “wrong” ZIP codes. In fact, she worried that her own son, William, was falling through the cracks of a system that wasn’t focused on the best interests of children.

In 1998, she took action, forming a grassroots organization, D.C. Parents for School Choice. In 2003, with the support of national education organizations and lawmakers, Virginia and her courageous group of parent advocates succeeded in enacting the nation’s first-ever Opportunity Scholarship Program for low-income children, a program that set into motion a complete overhaul of Washington, D.C.’s education system.

This program provides scholarships for low-income children to attend private schools. Thousands of students have received Opportunity Scholarships, and the program boasts a 91% high school graduation rate.

Virginia shared her advice and experiences in her book, Voices, Choices, and Second Chances. Her second book, School Choice: A Legacy to Keep, was published in 2019.