Archive of Equality Now

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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Why Can’t Stop The Serenity, Part IV

Peepiecheep answers the question.

On July 6th this year, a team of dedicated volunteers ran a Can't Stop the Serenity event in Leicester, UK. It was the first time since 2008 that an event had been held in the city. Last time we raised over $300 for Equality Now, this year we raised 4 times as much, both for EN and for our local women's aid charity. It's hard work, and it takes up a lot of our spare time, but it's worth it.

Why? Because equality matters.

Equality, and the fight to achieve it for all, is important. For every woman who cannot fight, who finds her life and her choices dictated for her; for every girl who has been denied an education due to her gender; for every pre-teen who has been married off to a man three times her age; for every victim of rape and violence and oppression; we will help fight for them.

In the words of Captain Malcolm Reynolds, "Somebody has to speak for these people", and this year, Leicester helped be their voice.

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Three Countries, Three Screenings

The weekend of July 4-6 sees three shiny screenings in Canada, the United States and England. First up chronologically is Toronto. The Royal Cinema once again plays host to an afternoon of Serenity, door prizes, and an auction full of unique items. Tickets are only $12.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door. The screening will be followed by a shindig at a nearby pub but RSVPs are neccessary for the shindig.

Albuquerque has a very full day planned on Saturday. Besides shiny shopping, raffles, an auction, a shindig, Serenity, catered dinner available for purchase at the theatre, there is also comedy and music! Comedians Drew Wayne and Genevieve Mueller will open the event and Mikey Mason will play right before the dinner break. Costume are encouraged and anyone who buys their ticket in advance gets a Fruity Oaty bar and other shiny swag! A shindig rounds out the day.

Sunday sees Leicester back for the first time since 2008 and it has blossomed since then! There is Serenity of course, live local music, spoken word and poetry performers, and tons and tons of things to buy - cakes, jewellery, fridge magnets, bags, cunning hats, and badges, to name a few things, as well as some really awesome raffle and competition prizes such as signed original artwork and graphic novels. There is even a teapot with a pretty cunning warmer over it.
The costume competition winners will receive specially engraved trophies, and a photo booth area will help attendees immortalize a great event. Everyone can get a bag of free popcorn too. Like Albuquerque, Leicester is offering something special to those who buy tickets in advance, - an Early Bird Goodie Bag.

Leicester also made a video to promote their event. Take a look after you admire their Jayne and Wash who helped to promote the screening at a recent con!

2 boys at a con in costume

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Make the World a Better Place (and Have Fun Doing It)

Morgan B, age 12 wrote this essay for school. We think you will be in awe at this young woman's grasp of what is important.

We all know that sometimes terrible things happen in the world, but did you know that in many countries women have almost no rights? In places like Yemen, Sudan, and Pakistan, young girls may be beaten, married, or even sentenced to death by their own families with few or no legal consequences. However, human rights organizations like Equality Now are working to change that. Can't Stop The Serenity is a series of movie screenings held annually to benefit Equality Now. Serenity is a Sci-fi movie created by Joss Whedon, so if you are a Whedon fan and care about women's rights, you should definitely come to a CSTS event near you.

Can't Stop The Serenity, also known as CSTS, started out as a birthday celebration for Joss Whedon. One of his mothers's students co-founded Equality Now in 1992, and Whedon himself is famous for writing strong female characters, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and River Tam, the main character in Serenity. In 2005, a fan of Whedon's thought that it would be appropriate to screen his movie for the benefit of his mother's charity, as a birthday present. The idea caught on, and other cities started to celebrate it as an annual tradition. Today, an average of fifty cities all around the world hold CSTS events. In eight years, CSTS events have raised over $900,000 for the charity. My mother organizes the events for North Texas.

Although the main idea behind CSTS is to screen Serenity, each city has a different way of celebrating. Some do carnival games, costume parties, show the movie in pubs, and more. We usually screen it in a theatre, along with a funny short film called Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog. We also do raffles, live auctions, costume contests, trivia, and, my favorite, the evil laugh contest! The event lasts about eight hours, but the food and drink that the theatres provide keep the hungry people happy. Last year, we broke the world record for the amount of people singing an anthem from the movie. I help out by selling t-shirts, giving directions, and watching for anyone who looks like they need help. The number of people who show up every year makes me a little claustrophobic. However, that's a good thing, knowing that there are about 300 people walking around for such a good cause. Seeing so many people having a blast makes the many exhausting hours of preparation worth it.

The work leading up to CSTS is tiring and worrying, but fun as well. Mom's biggest concern would be the t-shirts. Figuring out how many to buy of each colour to sell at the event is more painstaking than it sounds. There is also making arrangements with the venue and performers, promoting the event, answering questions, posting on the website, selling tickets, collecting items for raffle, and making sure the house doesn't burn down. The amount of effort needed to home school me and my brother AND run the charity is amazing. My brother and I do our best to keep the house and yard clean while she works, and dad helps as well when he can. The “packing party” as my mother calls it is the day before the event. Our friends come and help us pack pre-orders, prizes, and generally pack any and all things we will need for the next day. The chaotic state the house is in during this time is simply amazing. Sometimes my mother (and friends) stay up to the wee hours of the morning, making sure that everything is perfect for the event.

My mom sometimes worries that CSTS takes too much time away from my brother and I. She once asked me how I felt about what she was doing, or if I had learned anything from it, and I replied, “Yes, I've learned something from it. I learned that if something is bad in the world, you can't just watch it. You have to do something about it.” I was only eight, and she was so proud. I stand by what I said to this day. I know that Equality Now and my mother have done something to make the world a better place. Women don't deserve to be treated as they are, and we are working to do something about that. I think that makes me, and a lot of other people very happy. Through showing a simple film, people all over the world are trying to create change, by giving women and girls around the world knowledge, hope, and freedom. Wherever you are in the world, try to find a CSTS event near you, you'll have a great time for a good cause!

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Why ‘Can’t Stop the Serenity’?

Last May Vancouver Organizer Samatwitch wrote about why Vancouver holds CSTS events each year. Thanks to her for giving us permission to reprint this from their website.

Why do we do this? Why do organisers spend so much time and money for each event? Why do people volunteer, paying for their own tickets to do so? Why do Browncoats - and others - keep coming out to CSTS events?

Partly of course, because the events are fun. Each city is different and has ideas and plans that work for them. A lot of people come out to see Serenity on the big screen or to sing along to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Some people come to spend an afternoon or day with their friends at a fun event - or to bid on an auction item they can't find anywhere else, especially handmade items. All those are legitimate reasons, of course, but I think a lot of people come because the events enable them to make a contribution to better the lives of women and girls globally and locally.

Last year I wrote again about D'ua Khalil Aswad and how it inspired many of us to continue to work hard for Equality Now. This year I want to talk about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for having the desire to get an education - something we in the west take for granted. She was targetted because, at 15, Malala was already known around the world for her blog on education and the state of women's rights in Pakistan. Here is a video from the New York Times, recorded with Malala and her father when she was only 11. Even then she was determined to continue her education. Now she is doing that, albeit in Birmingham, England, where she was taken for her surgery and safety.

I also want to talk about the heinous crimes committed against women and girls as young as five in India. There have been numerous accounts lately of girls being kidnapped and raped. Some have died as a result; some have committed suicide. These things don't just happen in India or Pakistan or Iran or Ethiopia or Egypt, of course, as we saw this week with the rescue of three young women who had been held captive for a decade in a house in Ohio. But when it happens in the United States or Canada or England, our laws are (usually) strong enough to punish the perpetrators - and deter a lot of people from committing the crime in the first place.

This is where Equality Now comes in. They work with groups in various countries to educate and to change the laws to protect women and girls from violence and discrimination aimed at them BECAUSE they are female. You can check out some of their successes and some of their ongoing campaigns on their website.

This year, we need you more than ever - to buy a ticket, bid on an item or two or more, to spread the word and bring your friends to support these causes - and to have fun while you're doing it. Dress up in a Whedony costume, sing your heart out along with your fellow fans, maybe enter the Evil Laugh contest - or write some Vogon poetry. We will come together to have an enjoyable afternoon, made more so by the fact we know we are helping women and girls around the world - and locally - have a better life.

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Over $900,000 raised in 8 years

We are very pleased to announced that in 2013 Can't Stop The Serenity raised $115,420.00 for Equality Now and 20 other charities. This is $5,000 more than in 2012 and brings our total to over $900,000 U.S. over the last 8 years. New cities joined with their events and we had screenings in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Thank you to all our sponsors, organizers, and participants, for contributing to this tremendous success! Whether you bought a Tshirt, donated to an event, bid on an auction, attended a screening or spread the word, we deeply appreciate your commitment and generosity in helping us to support the rights of women and girls worldwide.

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