On February 11 & 12, Working Films hosted a great weekend of events for our media campaign Reel Equality. Aimed at defeating the anti-gay NC amendment coming up for a vote this May, the campaign is touring 6 stellar documentary films on LGBT struggles to audiences around the state to inspire viewers — our straight allies, our co-workers, members of our congregations, and those who care about the welfare of our vulnerable youth — to VOTE NO. Being headquartered in Wilmington, NC, we were excited by the high energy and great turn out at one of the first of 100+ events we are hoping to book across the state.
We kicked off the weekend with a fundraising dinner for Protect NC Families, the coalition of groups working hard to defeat the amendment. It was co-hosted by our own executive director Robert West as well as Judson (Jud) H. Gee of JHG Financial Advisors. It was a great evening attended by community leaders and local activists, including our NC House Representative, Susi Hamilton and City Councilman Kevin O’Grady. With Jud’s sponsorship, we were able to raise funds for the effort as well as start a dialogue about how this amendment will harm ALL NC families.
Later that evening at City Stage we screened two of the Reel Equality films, Cynthia Wade’s Freeheld and Out in the Silence by Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer. The Oscar-winning short Freeheld tackles the issue of benefits extension to same-sex partners while the Emmy-winner Out in the Silence profiles the bullying faced by LGBT youth, both big issues when anti-gay constitutional amendments rear their ugly heads. Sunday night, we showed Thomas Allen Harris’ Marriage Equality, a short film which connects the civil rights movement with the gay equality movement, and Gen Silent by Stu Maddux, a film about the struggles LGBT seniors are facing in this current society of discrimination. All of the screenings were well attended and we signed everyone up to join the fight and spread the word about the very real implications this amendment will have if passed. If you’re in North Carolina or another state currently facing LGBT discrimination, go to reelequality.org to find out how to bring these stories to your town.