Citing an “autumn of organized, political attacks”, the Board of Directors of Out On Screen is soliciting funds for its We Won’t Be Bullied Fund to be earmarked to deal with expenses as a result of these recent attacks, and prepare for the future.
“Not without irony, we realized that Out On Screen was being bullied – an extension of the bullying that many of us experienced in high school,” said Ong in his email. “But this time, as adults, we know exactly who we are and how to push back.”
In approving the special fund the Out On Screen board, which oversees both the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and Out In Schools, has said it will keep these funds separate from its general operating account and will be specifically reserved for these types of external crisis situations. With unbudgeted expenses directly related to the most recent attacks, Ong said that they need to raise an additional $11,000 by the end of the year to avoid entering 2012 with a deficit (the fund has already received an initial contribution of just over $3,000). According to Ong an unexpected loss would potentially lead to a smaller Queer Film Festival, fewer Out in Schools presentations and less community projects and partnerships.
“Even here in the Best Place on Earth we still have bullying – whether it is picking on the queer kid in school or attacking significant pillars of our queer community like the Queer Film Festival or Out in Schools,” said David Holtzman, Director of Operations & Human Resources of Out On Screen. “This has to stop. We are the ones most affected, therefore we are the ones to create and deliver the solutions. The We Won’t Be Bullied Fund was established to help secure our place in this world – to allow us to stand up proudly and keep dancing forward”.
Donations to the fund can be made online at the Out On Screen website and selecting the We Won’t Be Bullied Fund in the fund/designation drop box.
Vancouver Queer Film Festival – celebrating the best in independent queer cinema the Festival hosts a variety of performances, workshops, panels, parties and more, facilitating a unique community space for 11 days each August.
Out In Schools – this youth education program brings independent queer film into BC high schools to initiate discussions with students about school safety, homophobia and bullying.