Why do we do this? Why do organisers spend so much time and money for each event? Why do people volunteer, paying for their own tickets to do so? Why do Browncoats - and others - keep coming out to CSTS events?
Partly of course, because the events are fun. Each city is different and has ideas and plans that work for them. A lot of people come out to see Serenity on the big screen or to sing along to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Some people come to spend an afternoon or day with their friends at a fun event - or to bid on an auction item they can't find anywhere else, especially handmade items. All those are legitimate reasons, of course, but I think a lot of people come because the events enable them to make a contribution to better the lives of women and girls globally and locally.
Last year I wrote again about D'ua Khalil Aswad and how it inspired many of us to continue to work hard for Equality Now. This year I want to talk about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for having the desire to get an education - something we in the west take for granted. She was targetted because, at 15, Malala was already known around the world for her blog on education and the state of women's rights in Pakistan. Here is a video from the New York Times, recorded with Malala and her father when she was only 11. Even then she was determined to continue her education. Now she is doing that, albeit in Birmingham, England, where she was taken for her surgery and safety.
I also want to talk about the heinous crimes committed against women and girls as young as five in India. There have been numerous accounts lately of girls being kidnapped and raped. Some have died as a result; some have committed suicide. These things don't just happen in India or Pakistan or Iran or Ethiopia or Egypt, of course, as we saw this week with the rescue of three young women who had been held captive for a decade in a house in Ohio. But when it happens in the United States or Canada or England, our laws are (usually) strong enough to punish the perpetrators - and deter a lot of people from committing the crime in the first place.
This is where Equality Now comes in. They work with groups in various countries to educate and to change the laws to protect women and girls from violence and discrimination aimed at them BECAUSE they are female. You can check out some of their successes and some of their ongoing campaigns on their website.
Our local beneficiaries also work to help women and girls to a better life. BC Women's Hospital & Health Care Foundation supports BC's only hospital just for women and focuses in areas of research, teaching and care for women and their families. The Avalon Recovery Society provides safe drop-in centres for women in recovery from alcohol or chemical dependency with programs for education, recovery and peer support.
Over the past seven years, CSTS Vancouver has raised close to $25,000 and CSTS Global has raised over $800,000 to support Equality Now and various local charities around the world.
This year, we need you more than ever - to buy a ticket, bid on an item or two or more, to spread the word and bring your friends to support these causes - and to have fun while you're doing it. Dress up in a Whedony costume, sing your heart out along with your fellow fans, maybe enter the Evil Laugh contest - or write some Vogon poetry. We will come together to have an enjoyable afternoon, made more so by the fact we know we are helping women and girls around the world - and locally - have a better life.
Tickets are available by clicking on the button at the top right or with cash from Gian at La Fontana Caffe, Boundary at Hastings. If you can't make this year, you can use our Donate button on the right. See you on the 25th!