School of Law News
Acclaimed Actress, Producer, Director, and Screenwriter Ally Walker to Speak at School of Law November 15
Posted November 12, 2012
Walker to Address State of National Foster Care System
Ally Walker, world-renowned Hollywood actress, producer, director, and screenwriter, will appear at the Western New England University School of Law on Thursday, November 15. Walker will speak from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Law School Commons. The event, sponsored by the School of Law’s Family Law Association and Animal Law Association, is free and open to the public.
Walker will discuss her first-hand knowledge of and her perspective on the devastating and deadly state of the nation’s foster care system. She will also present and discuss her compelling and chilling documentary on the subject, “FOR NORMAN…WHEREVER YOU ARE.”
“One day while walking in the park, I met a little boy named Norman – from that moment both of our lives were changed forever,” says Walker. Following the chance encounter, Walker was inspired to write, produce, fund, film, and promote a compelling documentary designed to shed light on the problems endured by those less fortunate.
Says Walker about her chance encounter with Norman and the documentary that she subsequently created:
After spending time in the park with Norman, I felt a strong desire to help him and his mother. I spent the day taking them to shelters, clinics and outreach programs. I contacted the mother's relatives to see if they would help get the duo off the street. But all of my efforts were to no avail. Even worse, spending the day with Norman's mother had convinced me that she was not well, and I was worried for Norman's safety. Fortunately, by nightfall I found a shelter that was willing to take them and once they were safely admitted at the urging of the shelter, I called the Department of Children and Family Services to make sure that Norman would be properly monitored. Days later, I found out that the baby had been taken from his mother and put into foster care. Since I was not a relative, I was given no information on what would happen to Norman or his mother.
I made this documentary in an attempt to understand what life is like for children like Norman living in foster care. Together with Adam Davidson (Director of the Oscar winning short film, THE LUNCH DATE), I chronicle the lives of several children in L.A.'s foster care system and talk to the families whose lives have been forever changed by it.
The film focuses on the system in Los Angeles but could be anywhere in the United States. “FOR NORMAN . . . WHEREVER YOU ARE” takes you inside the “'business” of fostering children in a way that no other film has dared to do. It points out the flaws of the current system while never losing sight of the fact that a system is needed. It shows the viewer how strong of a role poverty plays in the raising of children in this country.
“FOR NORMAN . . . WHEREVER YOU ARE” also proves that one individual can help promote change.
The film raised awareness of flaws in the foster care system and was a catalyst for significant reform, both in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California. It won “Best Documentary Feature” at the San Fernando Valley International Film Festival, as well as the “Champion of Conscience Award” at Wine Country Film Festival.
A longtime environmental and child welfare advocate, Walker made her mark in both television and film, at first, starring in daytime's Emmy® winning Santa Barbara, and True Blue, followed by as turn a private eye in the series Moon Over Miami. As Samantha Waters in Profiler, Walker played a forensic psychologist with a dark past. In HBO's Tell Me You Love Me she received critical acclaim for her portrayal of “Katie.” Walker appeared for three seasons as the sociopath ATF Agent June Stahl on Sons of Anarchy, FX's critically acclaimed dramatic hit series. Ally’s most recent TV series role was as Gloria Shepherd in the Lifetime's The Protector. Ally also made several guest appearances on Matlock, L.A. Law, Wings, The Shield, Law & Order, Boston Legal, Southland, Law & Order Special Victims Unit, and many more hit series and several made for television movies.
On the big screen, Walker first appeared in Cameron Crowe's cult classic Singles. This was followed by the action flick, Universal Soldier and Steal Big, Steal Little, which starred Andy Garcia and was directed by Andrew Davis; Toe to Toe; Wonderful World with Matthew Broderick; and her well-remembered role as “Ashley Bartlett Bacon,” Peter Gallagher's girlfriend in While You Were Sleeping.
In theater, Walker made her New York stage debut in Alan Ball's Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, alongside Thomas Gibson and Allison Janney. Recently, Ally returned to New York to appear in the final all-star cast of Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron's Love, Loss and What I Wore.