The modern gay liberation movement is most often associated with New York, leaving out what happened in the rest of the country.
When We Rise, a seven-part docudrama, focuses on San Francisco movement history.
Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black wrote the script for this ABC series. While the personal story of Harvey Milk was overshadowed by other elements in Milk, the newer work is anchored by the well-developed personal accounts.
Having lived through and survived the last four decades here, I was emotionally overwhelmed by the bigger-than-life presentation of our shared history. It didn’t quite reflect either my own experience or my knowledge of the time, but the series definitely captured the essence of what occurred during this tumultuous period.
Lance gathered material from each of the main characters and created a gripping, coherent narrative relevant to anyone open to knowing what happened in San Francisco.
Contact ABC for more information.
copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved
When We Rise: My Life In The Movement by Cleve Jones is due late November from Hachette Books.
The title suggests the mythical bird reborn from the ashes and the forthcoming memoir definitely reflects that.
Its author, Cleve Jones, first came to San Francisco from Arizona in 1972, the year I returned to the city from the East Coast. We met in the early 70s and I remember attending a party he and his roommate, Eric Garbor, hosted when we lived half a block from one another on Castro Street.
He’s long been a highly visible member of the community and a prominent activist for over four decades.
The book traces the trajectory of his life beginning with a low point. His experiences at school were so hellish that he was considering suicide during his early teens. He overcame despair after he began working for social change and discovered he was not alone in the world.
Cleve was especially active during the bleakest period of the AIDS-HIV pandemic. He was the founder of the Names Project that created a public memorial for thousands of individuals who died of the disease. The ever-growing quilt was displayed widely both in the US and beyond, helping to mobilize government agencies to fund studies and speed up treatment options.
The movement for social justice not only gave meaning to his life but also provided him with employment over the years. He worked in politics and is presently engaged in labor advocacy.
He was mentored by Harvey Milk and encouraged the development and eventual production of Milk, the narrative film about Harvey directed by Gus Van Sant in 2008.
Earlier this year Dustin Lance Black, the screenwriter of Milk, teamed up again with Van Sant to produce an ABC miniseries partly inspired by the manuscript of When We Rise.
The memoir allowed me to fill in some of the details of Cleve’s life story and will undoubtedly inspire present and future generations of women and men to positive action.
copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.