Today We Are Sisters
12 in. x 17 in.
Wax on paper
prison Artist
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
2021 exhibition
1-Artist; 1-Subject; 21-Works, Global-internet
Today We Are Sisters

Today We Are Sisters is in our famous works category as a result of its role to inspire the $7.5M, first reparations law in US history for women prisoners who were forcibly sterilized.

In 2018, C-Note created the Paintoem (painting + poem), Today We Are Sisters, a work about Pro-Life and Pro-Coice activists uniting to end the practice of forced sterilization of women in the California prison system, and to demand reparations. That same year, C-Note donated the work to the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, who were visiting the state capitol since 2018, demanding reparations for California women prisoners who were forcibly sterilized.

While other advocates were creating bodies of work drawing attention to this matter, most notably film producer Erika Cohn’s 2020 documentary, BELLY OF THE BEAST, it wasn’t until shortly after the February 2021 release of Free Virtual Art Exhibition (1-Artist; 1-Subject; 21-Works), that the California legislation actually passed a $7.5M bill that could be signed into law.

The online exhibition 1-Artist; 1-Subject; 21-Works consisted of 21-Works by C-Note. Each work in the exhibition were of his Works related to incarceration. The final piece of the exhibition was Today We Are Sisters 

Despite this success, applications had to be submitted by December 31, 2023, as a result of the sunset provision written into the law. C-Note and others had to remain vigilant in educating the public of the need to apply. This advocacy led to art journalist Sally Brown to write, “🌟 Championing Reproductive Rights and Arts Leadership: Anna D. Smith’s Inspiring Advocacy & Artists Response.” The article highlights the intersection of arts leadership and reproductive rights through the advocacy efforts of Anna D. Smith, the Silicon Valley fine art and real estate broker who represents C-Note in the art world. 

C-Note, described as the world’s most prolific prison artist, plays a crucial role in this narrative. Before the reparations became a reality, C-Note was one of the first to utilize art as a medium to bring attention to the dire situation of these women. A photograph from 2021 shows Anna at the headquarters of the California Coalition of Women Prisoners with a print of C-Note’s 2018 painting, Today We Are Sisters. This artwork, and the act of presenting the woodblock print, signifies the deep connection between art, advocacy, and the fight for justice in the context of reproductive rights. 

The article further explores the broader conversation about bodily autonomy and reproductive rights, featuring perspectives from various artists passionate about the issue.

Liz Publika: Activist Poster

“[My] Activism posters are a byproduct of my frustration stemming from what I consider to be unjust. In this case, it’s (the lack of consistent) reproductive freedom around the country. The right to choose has been an important concern of mine for quite some time, ever since when I researched and wrote my senior thesis on the restrictive measures states have been putting in place since the early 2000s. That was back in 2008. 

As a citizen of a country that was built on principles of self determination and the concept of inalienable rights, I believe that forced sterilization has no place here, or anywhere for that matter. Reparations are simply a symbol of accountability and an acknowledgement of the state’s violation of bodily autonomy as well as systemic injustice.“ – Liz Publika 

Carol Radsprecher:

“I am outraged by the Republicans’ efforts to make abortion illegal everywhere. Without reproductive freedom, heterosexual women — and men — are not free to live our lives unencumbered by the fear of an unwanted pregnancy. Bodily autonomy is a right that every human being must have. Women should not be punished for having sex. Contraception sometimes fails.” – Carol Radsprecher 

Amy Chaiklin:

“I believe it is the fundamental right of all women and girls to make decisions about her/their own bodies!” – Amy Chaiklin

Judy Takács:

“The decision when or whether to become a mother is the most personal, life-altering, healthcare decision there is. The person with the uterus must have full access to healthcare, education and bodily autonomy to make this decision. No government or authority should have the right to decide you must become a mother, nor should any entity have the right to make it so you will never become a mother.” – Judy Takács 

C-Note’s artistic vision and unwavering advocacy embody the transformative power of art within social justice movements. His work Today We Are Sisters became an undeniable catalyst in the fight for reparations for forcibly sterilized women in California prisons.  By inspiring legislative action and amplifying the voices of fellow artists and activists, C-Note reminds us that art is not just a medium of expression, but a force that drives change and demands a more just world for women and all individuals whose bodily autonomy is threatened. 

Stand with women and champion reproductive rights

C-Note’s Today We Are Sisters embodies the powerful alliance needed to challenge injustice. Owning this print declares your unwavering support for bodily autonomy – click on the image below 👇

Photography Prints