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!