When I say sci-fi, you say activism!
You didn’t say it.
Or did you? It’s hard to tell through the screen.
If you didn’t, it wouldn’t be surprising. The two concepts don’t flow organically from one to the next. They don’t go hand-in-hand.
Or do they?
Depending on where you look, they do indeed.
In some sad cases, sci-fi has garnered a reputation of being racist, misogynist, homophobic, and all sorts of other things that have no real business in science fiction, as true science fiction has always been about the “exploration of new and challenging ideas…including the empowerment of people of color and women.”
Sad though it is, there are groups of science fiction fans who have made it their aim to keep science fiction in a box, a box that excludes many groups of people that might otherwise enjoy and contribute to science fiction; a box that excludes real issues that we face today.
Luckily, not all groups are like this.
Take, for example, the dedicated sci-fi fans that comprise the group known as the PDX Browncoats.
Since 2004, the PDX Browncoats have taken their love of Joss Whedon’s cult classic, Firefly, and used it to fuel their efforts to make the world a better place.
Values: PDX Browncoats have integrated our shared appreciation for the stories of Joss Whedon into our social lives as well as our activism.
“She’s not to be bought. Nor bartered, nor borrowed or lent. She’s a human woman…”
1) We believe that misogyny and inequality have no place in our world.
“…a man learns all the details of a situation like ours, well then he has a choice.”
2) We believe that socialization can and should lead to activism.
“If you can’t do somethin’ smart, do somethin’ right.”
3) We believe that having the courage to do what is needed is more important than the certainty of success.
“When you can’t run, you crawl, and when you can’t crawl – when you can’t do that… You find someone to carry you.”
4) We believe that asking for help is an act of bravery and not a reason for shame.
“You take care of me. You’ve always taken care of me. My turn.”
5) We cultivate both an appreciation of our own place in the world and the desire to improve other’s place in the world.
“Now they see the sky and they remember what they are.”
6) We encourage each other to move outside of our previous comfort zones when action is needed.
From 2004 on, the PDX Browncoats have been hanging out, having fun, and raising money for Can’t Stop the Serenity. “‘Can’t Stop the Serenity’ (or CSTS for short) started in 2006 by a man known as The One True b!X in Portland, Oregon. This very avid fan decided to show Serenity on Joss Whedon’s birthday as a charity event to raise money for one of Joss’ favorite charities that his late mother was involved with, Equality Now.” They raised, well, a lot of money. That was 2006, though, and they’ve raised a lot more money for Equality Now since then, whose mission is to achieve legal and systemic change that addresses violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world. A worthy cause, to be sure. And one continued and driven on, in part, by fans of science fiction that has something to say about the way we treat ourselves, each other, and the world around us. And that’s what real science fiction has always been about.
So, when I say sci-fi, you say activism!
I know you said it. High-five.
Ready to get involved? Click me to join in on making the world a better place!
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