America’s Rainbow Film Festival

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It’s only mid-November, and articles are showing up in my social media feeds about growing expressions of violence and hate against individuals and groups. There’s more than two months before he dirties the White House and wipes his feet on the laws that were supposed to make this country a democracy. But people are already feeling emboldened to spew white supremacy in more overt ways than seemed to be allowable in public for decades. Make no mistake. It’s always been there. It’s just that many white supremacists felt too disenfranchised to step out into the limelight and graffiti swastikas for some time, just as one example.

For this reason, I implore anyone not feeling marginalized already to lend support to anyone who is. Pick any group that speaks to your heart and find out what they need. And if you’re someone who creates or shares media, please make efforts to amplify the voices of the groups that he and his supporters are attacking and attacking the rights of. Please remember that if you get uncomfortable doing this kind of activism, discomfort is not the same as lack of safety. You can get uncomfortable and stay safe, and if you have white–or even orange-tinged skin–you already have a great deal more safety than anyone who doesn’t. This is the undeniable history of this country, from its very founding as a small country where white people decimated Native people and owned African people and where Asian and Latin American people literally built the infrastructure of a growing nation under extreme conditions and hideous “wages”.

Also for this reason, I’m indescribably excited to share with you that America’s Rainbow Film Festival is happening in New York December 9-11. From their website: “ARFF is the Premier Urban-Minority-Diverse LGBT(Q)I(A) Film Festival for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transexual, Questioning, Intersexual and All Our Ally People of Color, where anything goes and can happen. And by anything, we mean anything without mainstream gatekeepers censorship.”

Official Selection for America's Rainbow Film Festival 2016 with laurels and interlocking lines of a rainbow.The great news for us is that Who Am I To Stop It is premiering at this festival! Yup. The premiere. And what an honor beyond honors. I’m white, straight, and cisgender. So for a festival like this to appreciate our team’s work on this film is something I don’t take lightly. The festival’s committee was moved by Dani’s story as a lesbian of mixed race who is seeking answers to a lot of questions as she works to shape her life after graduating high school. They accepted the film even though the other two main people in the film are also white and cisgender, and one is straight. I appreciate that it’s not a brain injury or disability-specific festival because it’s always been my goal with my media work to remind the public that people with TBI have other parts to their lives and identities. We are not one-sided or single-issue people simply for having acquired disabilities. Our stories are not niche stories that only other people with TBI should be listening to.

The festival will be live and online and have lots of fabulous panels on different parts of filmmaking in addition to all the wonderful films being screened. Find them on Twitter and also on Facebook.

And take care of each other. Really, really, really take care of each other.