For the last 10 years, the fan-started fundraiser Can't Stop the Serenity has raised more than $900,000 for Equality Now, a human rights organization that advocates for women and girls all over the world by raising international awareness of abuse.
Can't Stop the Serenity was started by fans of the Joss Whedon cult favorite Firefly who took to hosting screenings of his film Serenity to raise funds for the cause.
Almost a decade later, the acclaimed writer and director is now very much involved in the fight, and screenings take place all over the world (and likely by Browncoats all throughout the universe) each year. This weekend finds one of those charity screenings in our own backyard, at Serenity Games in St. Petersburg.
Outsiders might look at the Whedon Fandom as a sort of cult, but when they have their hands in this many good deeds, perhaps labeling is something that really should go directly to the back-burner.
From Whedon himself: There are two ways to fight a battle like ours. One is to whisper in the ear of the masses, try subtlety and gradually to change the gender expectations and mythic structures of our culture. That’s me. The other is to step up and confront the thousands of atrocities that are taking place around the world on an immediate, one-by-one basis. That’s a great deal harder, and that’s Equality Now. It’s not about politics; it’s about basic human decency.
This weekend's event at Serenity Games will include the screening of Serenity, a charity raffle, a costume contest, host games and activities as well as in store sales with generous portions of the proceeds going to Equality Now, as well as a couple of worthwhile local charitable causes.
Serenity Games will also be donating proceeds to Brookwood Florida, a unique, life changing residential program for adolescent girls, as well as lending assistance to local community member Erica Heras who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
CL had the opportunity to speak with Serenity Games' owner, Michael Suchan who spoke on the importance of fandom in the community: "For me and my business, community is everything. Being a part of this fandom and our gaming community reminds me that doing good starts on the smallest level. It starts right here at home, with every one of us playing a part... Just like the crew of Serenity. Only by working locally with like-minded folk can we hope to accomplish something bigger, something mighty."
Can't Stop the Serenity and Equality Now are working together to put a face on an issue that needs to be brought to the forefront of our cultural awareness. This weekend, you can put on your Browncoat and take part at Serenity Games for a great cause, and have a heap of fun in the process.
The 2014 Tampa Bay — Can't Stop the Serenity Charity Shindig!, Sun. Oct. 12, 2 p.m. To 8 p.m., Serenity Games, 6151 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-803-6841.