When We Rise (2017)
A moving documentary of the LGBTQ equal rights movement, When We Rise covers a lot of ground and reminds us of what has come before us and what still needs to be done.
The first thing I liked about this series is how it personalized everything. From the heartbreak of an unknown lover’s passing to the joy of a modern gay marriage, I felt like I was brought along the roller coaster of emotions with the characters. It’s not just a documentation of the facts of history, but it’s brought to life through real people’s experiences of that history.
I also thought this series was needed in that there are so many young LGBTQ folks out there who have only a passing understanding of what went into the world they live in today. So many people fought so hard and gave everything so that the world around them would change. When We Rise tells that story, and hopefully makes us grateful for those who went before us.
This is also very timely. Not only does the series describe the LGBTQ rights struggle, but it brings in how that struggle went hand in hand with other movements. And now there are struggles going on in our country that currently don’t involve gay issues, but equality and respect are threatened. Cleve Jones says, “One struggle, one fight.” It’s like the Niemoller quote, but boiled down to 4 words. When the rights of one group are threatened, we are all threatened. And we should band together.
There are other films out there that describe the history of the LGBTQ movement, but few are as comprehensive. Granted this series is fairly generalized, but there are decades of history to cover in a short time.
When We Rise aired on ABC, and is still viewable on Hulu, iTunes, and Amazon.