Are you an upstander or a bystander?
Upstander – noun, a person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied.
Bystander – noun, a person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part.
At first, he was a reluctant civil rights leader.
He had (very legitimate) fears: personal safety, the safety of his family…
But he served anyway.
It only took one person to lead a nation and provide inspiration for decades thereafter.
But what can I do? You might ask.
When you hear hate, speak up.
When you see injustice, take action.
When it’s election time, vote.
Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr., for your leadership.*
*from Light Watkins
Artists are powerful because they appeal to people’s hearts and minds. Painters, sculptors, writers, musicians and other artists are changemakers. Writers, for example, can be drivers for social equity.
Two Asian actors in “Hawaii Five-O” just left the show. When they signed on, they were the big names. No one really knew the two white lead actors (Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan). Daniel Dae Kim was coming from “Lost” and Grace Park was famous for her work in “Battlestar Galactica.” The Asian actors were really the draw for the show. Now, seven years later, the Asian actors are still not making as much money as the lesser known leads.
NPR had an intriguing and informative interview with writer Rick Najera and Jeff Yang (podcast host). Najera made the assertion that the power lies in the hands of the writers:
NAJERA: The writers’ room can decide whether that actor is a supporting actor or a leading actor. So it’s very easy to make that decision. So you can sit there and say, well, we have two Asian actors on a show set in Hawaii, which is predominately very Asian, let’s make them leads. They can make that decision early on. I think Hollywood’s kind of catching up to that thought and wants to. It’s just everyone in Hollywood wants to be second, no one wants to be first.
I believe artists outside of Hollywood – the independent filmmakers and artists – are the people who will make (are making) this happen.
Be the first!