When We Rise

If you haven’t yet seen Dustin Lance Black’s masterpiece mini-series, When We Rise, please do. I spent my long weekend on my couch taking in this amazing, inspiring, heart-breaking, spirit-lifting (insert every adjective you can think of here) story and I still haven’t fully processed through it all. But I’m going to try to explain why this is such an important work.

When We Rise follows the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement from its conception in the ’70s in San Francisco up to the Supreme Courts monumental decision on marriage equality in 2015.  The events are seen through the eyes of three prominent social activists within the movement – Cleve Jones, Roma Guy, and Ken Jones.  These three individuals have seen and lived through it all – the fledgling civil rights movement, Harvey Milk’s campaign and murder, the AIDS epidemic, DOMA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell…. basically if you can think of it and it involves equal rights in the US over the last 40 years you can bet one of them was involved in it.

Every episode of this four-part series is beautiful and inspiring. In its entirety When We Rise is an important reminder that it is up to each of us to make change happen. It is the most incredible reminder of what a group of outsiders can do when they set their minds to it (which I think ties in pretty nicely with Easter and Passover).

The mini-series is not (hopefully yet) available in the library, but I will keep my eye out and request it as soon as it is. It is, however, available through Amazon or iTunes. In the meantime, here is a list of recommended items the library does have.

I have put in a purchase request for Cleve Jones’ autobiography, When We Rise: My Life in the Movement, which partially inspired the miniseries. I also wholeheartedly recommend the Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin, a fictionalized chronicle of the same era through the lives of the inhabitants of 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco.



About abby

Abby is a Youth Services Librarian at the Civic Centre Resource Library. There isn't much she doesn't like, but she loves reading (everything!), writing, and musical theatre. Check out more blog posts on Teen Vortex: http://www.vaughanpl.info/vortex/author/abby/  |  Meet the team