Archive of Equality Now

My Journey to a Million Dollars with the Browncoats by Mandy Sullivan

Thirteen years ago, I had never heard of Firefly. I had been working at Equality Now for quite some time and, as usual, we were struggling for funding. I got a call one day, from Renee Balmert from something called "the California Browncoats." She wanted our address in order to mail out a check to us representing proceeds from "ComicCon." The check was for over $3000, a staggering amount of money from one donor, at least it was in our experience. Apparently Joss Whedon had told them we were his favorite charity and they decided to give all the money to us. We were thrilled and grateful and Renee and I started up a conversation as she explained to me what Firefly was and what the Browncoats were.

I immediately purchased a copy of the series and spent the evening in a marathon viewing. Well, let's face it, it's hard not to, right?
Those events marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I won't go into the particulars of Joss' relationship to Equality Now as that is common knowledge now for most of you I think. The internet was starting to really come into force and, as I further learned, Joss had a huge and growing network of fans (from his other series Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as Firefly) that was quickly becoming a worldwide virtual community. When Firefly was summarily dumped by FOX shortly after its short run in September 2002, this community decided to pool their resources and see how much weight they could put behind their disappointment, actually their outrage, and their loyalty to Joss. I mean, there were episodes that HAD NOT BEEN AIRED YET!!

In any case, you all know the rest. A film was made, Serenity, that closed out the stories of the characters in the beloved series. Throughout this time, I was mostly a bystander and cheerleader, but quickly becoming a true fan, a fan of the fans actually! And, a brilliant idea was forming, in the mind of a Portland, OR fan named b!X who asked the question: "Hey why don't we hold a screening of Serenity on Joss' birthday and raise money for Equality Now." That was June of 2006. 42 cities around the world held screenings that year. As the years went by, Equality Now began receiving checks from all over the country as well as UK, Australia, Canada and Ireland, as groups of Browncoats organized their own screenings. And it all happened at the same time of year! We sent the different organizers our brochures, key chains, bracelets, more brochures, hats and tee shirts for raffles and give-aways, supporting them in any way we could.

For me, it was one of the biggest challenges and most wonderful experiences I had while working at Equality Now. The organizers were fantastic people to work with, all of them, throughout the years. From time to time, new organizers would come in to replace those taking a break and they too were enthusiastic in their support of Equality Now's work, and a genuine pleasure to work with and in some cases, get to know. Their patience with me was absolutely limitless.

And every year, the grand total increased. It was absolutely amazing. Seeing as I was the fortunate one who became liaison between Can't Stop the Serenity and Equality Now, visitors, other staff would ask me "who are the Browncoats and why are they doing this?" Well, it's a long story....

The Browncoats brought me to ComicCon in San Francisco to speak on a panel there, they brought me to the Universal Studios premiere of Serenity, they hosted me in Portland and New York City, and always assured me of my welcome in whatever city's screening I might attend. I was so happy when we were able to organize an appearance by Joss at the SoCal CSTS a few years ago It was to thank all of you in the most meaningful way we could think of. To have you hear it from him.

I left Equality Now in October, after 18 years. More than half of those years were spent interacting with you wonderful people. The fact that together you have raised a total of one million dollars for Equality Now and other charities fills me with so much pride and gratitude. You have worked so hard, on your own time, year after year. Awesome. That's what you are. Totally Awesome. Thank you for all you have done for Equality Now, for me, and for just being the people that you are. You've sent some mighty, mighty good vibes out there into the universe, and it will never be the same.

Stay Shiny but most importantly keep flyin'.

Amanda Sullivan

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Can’t Stop The Serenity Raises One Million Dollars For Charity

CSTS is immensely proud to announce that as of the end of the 2014 year, our 9th, we have raised One Million dollars U.S for Equality Now and the other charities our event cities have supported.

One Million Dollars.

It has come in as Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and American dollars. In Pounds and in Euros. Small amounts and large, from big cities and small groups of friends.

We probably can't measure exactly how much good this money has done, but we can feel it. And we know what we are.
Those of us who have run events, those who have donated time, money or swag, and of course those of us who open up our hearts and our wallets when we show up at a screening or affiliate event.

Big Damn Heroes, all of us.

One Million Dollars!!!!

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Great items available in Round Two of our E-Bay Auction Thumbnail

Great items available in Round Two of our E-Bay Auction

Click here to go to the eBay auctionCSTS2014AuctionR2Promo

The 2nd round of our E-Bay auction is up and running. Once again the New Melbourne Browncoats and Jen Cummings have been very generous with their donations. There are many collectibles here including some you have probably seen nowhere else.

  • "Buffy" photo print signed by artist Georges Jeanty
  • Rare Firefly Official Promo Digital Watch
  • Screen Writing Expo Seminar DVD: Tim Minear, Breaking the Story
  • Star Trek Memorabilia Collection
  • Replica Alliance bank note signed by 5 Serenity/Firefly cast/crew
  • Firefly/Serenity Memorabilia Collection including a Serenity "Jayne" promotional postcard. These were produced in the UK for the theatrical release of Serenity in 2005 and are very hard to find.
  • Firefly "First in Line" fan Tshirt T-shirt
  • Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2 Australian Theatrical Poster
  • LOTR Legolas Art Print signed by Orlando Bloom
  • Marvel's Avengers Theatrical Movie Poster
  • Dollhouse Promotional Poster (Eliza Dusku)
  • The Guild "Codex" Photo Print Signed by Artist Georges Jeanty
  • Please bid generously - all profits go to support the work of Equality Now

    Click here to go to the eBay auction

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Last But Hardly Least

This coming week sees the final events of the CSTS season but what a finish it is!

The Browncoats of Tampa, FL are having their first ever Can't Stop The Serenity screening on Sunday Oct. 12. Entry is by donation so give generously but be sure to save some money for the raffle which has an astonishing number of truly shiny items. Everything from the Firefly Car air fresheners to the new Firefly Clue Game with Tshirts and actions figures in between. There will be tough trivia, Board Games, an RPG game scenario demo and of course, a screening of Serenity.

Salt Lake City is back with their Serenity Screening. Accompanying the BDM will be several fan films, including 'Operation Night Watch',& 'The Verse' by Julian Higgins. Brian Wiser of Done the Impossible will reveal some Easter Eggs from the 'Done the Impossible' documentary. There will also be a costume contest, raffle auction and a Q & A about all things Firefly.

And finally, on October 15, for the first time ever, Can't Stop The Serenity is having a Virtual Shindig. Hosted by the Utah Browncoats it will run in three parts so people around the world can participate. Although only our 2014 event cities are mentioned, all are welcome.

First, we will start the Australian session beginning at 4 AM MDT to accommodate both coasts. For participants in Australia, it will be 9 PM in Melbourne & Nowra, and 6 PM in Perth.

Act two will be our European broadcast, beginning at Noon, Mountain Standard Time, providing a 7 PM Broadcast for Aberdeen, Blackwood, Leicester, Beeston and London.

The Third and final act will be at 7 PM MDT, which allows for a late broadcast to Halifax at 10 PM. We will reach the Eastern seaboard at 9 PM, including Atlanta, Montreal, Duluth, New York, Norfolk, Pembroke Pines, Philadelphia, Toronto, Boston, Miami Springs, Pittsburgh, Providence, Raleigh, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Washington D.C.. If you're in Platteville, Dallas, Minneapolis, Saint Louis, Nashville, or Lawrence, tune in at 8 PM. Denver, Albuquerque, Salt Lake City, and Sandy will be in line with us at 7 PM. All other event cities will tune at at 6 PM, including Sacramento, Phoenix, Seattle, Portland, Orange County, Tucson and Arcata.

Each of the three acts will run for approximately three hours, and will feature material specific to each major region. There will also be a silent auction with all money going to Equality Now. We hope that wherever you are in the world, and whatever your work schedule day or night, that you will join us for any and all of these three sessions live via Ustream!

And after that? One word.
Auction

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CSTS 10th Year!

Did you know that 2015 will be the 10th year of Can't Stop the Serenity? We've got some ideas on how to celebrate, but we'd love to hear your thoughts! What would you like to see included in next year's celebrations?

We want to raise the profile of both CSTS and Equality Now. We want to raise even more money for all the wonderful charities we've been supporting.
So how do we do it? You tell us. Go big! Go wild! While we probably can't have a sequel to Serenity, there's no harm in hoping.

Not near a CSTS event? What can we do for you to help you celebrate? (Besides encouraging you to run an event yourself!)

Send your ideas and questions to info@cantstoptheserenity.com, post on our Facebook page or send your thoughts via Twitter using the hashtag #CSTS10.

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Four very Different Events

The weekend of Sept. 13-14 sees a wide assortment of CSTS events. Montreal is back with its first event since 2006 and it promises to be worth the wait! It is happening within Montreal Comic-Con so if you weren't going to attend, you might want to think again! Tickets are only $10.00 to get in CSTS Montreal but you do need to be attending Montreal Comic Con already. There will be a showing of Serenity, a costume contest, prizes for trivia, an auction, Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog and a few special things for sale.

The Beeston Browncoats can always be counted on to run a fun Affiliate event.This year they even have their event on the same day that SyFYUK is showing Serenity. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe SyFyUK recognizes the perfect time to show the film!

There will be live music from Nottingham Singer/Songwriter Adam Peter Smith and Sword Dancing from local all woman dance troupe Whip the Cat, a BBQ, Cake Stall, lots of sci-fi merchandise up for grabs through tombola, and a raffle with great prizes.

New event city Aberdeen is offering a meal and 2 movies. Done the Impossible and Dr. Horrible will be accompanied by a great meal which is included in your ticket. Then there will be a pub quiz and a raffle draw as well as some very shiny merchandise for sale. Aberdeen got so many wonderful items, they have even added an auction! Go support this new event city!

The last event of the weekend is in Arcata California where the Humboldt Browncoats are running their 2nd CSTS event. While Serenity will be the showpiece, the evening will also feature some excellent trivia (How's your Chinese?), a costume parade, and a raffle with many shiny prizes. How shiny? Take a look.

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