Joss Whedon once said that “equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for — it’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity — we need it to stand on this earth as men and women.”
These are not simply words to Whedon. He is well-known for creating strong female characters in his work, including “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Dollhouse,” “The Avengers,” “Firefly” and “Serenity.” It’s because of that each year fans gather in cities around the world to raise money to help promote basic human rights.
Can’t Stop the Serenity was formed in 2006 when an avid “Firefly” fan decided to show the film “Serenity” on Joss Whedon’s birthday. The event was designed to raise money for a charity that Whedon’s late mother helped found, Equality Now, which is a charity organization working to protect the basic human rights of women and girls across the planet.
Browncoats around the world made the event a success, raising more than $65,000. Now in its eighth year, the annual fundraising event has raised more than $800,000.
Can’t Stop the Serenity is organized totally by volunteers. Each event features a screening of “Serenity” and is customized for local audiences by local organizers. Events can include raffles, costume contests, concerts, auctions and prize giveaways, plus showings of “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog” (featuring Nathan Fillion), Felicia Day’s hit Web series “The Guild,” fan films and anything else the organizers can put together.
Once the event season is over, there is a global online auction of sponsor-donated collectibles and merchandise. The goal for 2013 is to raise more than $100,000 for Equality Now and other charities.
“There are two ways to fight a battle like ours,” Whedon said. “One is to whisper in the ear of the masses, try subtly 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.”