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Black Lives Matter Support
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ar923 ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was remarkably disappointed by the official Rebel Legion statement. The fact that it could not even say the 3 simple words “Black Lives Matter”. That combined with their non mention of Transgender people or gender identity in their inclusivity portion and their lack of a statement for pride month. Damn, I never thought I’d see the 501st showing more love for marginalized people than the Rebel Legion.
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Mousetrooper ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I totally stand behind black lives matter and and as a Native American myself I have dealt with racism most of my life. I totally understand where they're coming from. My only concern and question for the command staff and everyone else that are supporting this discussion is, when did The Rebel Legion and 501st Legion vote on becoming social justice platforms? I'm just curious to see where it was in the mission statement or added to the charter?And don't get me wrong I have much respect for social justice Warriors in the right environment. It's amazing what they can accomplish, but I remember clearly being told by many fellow members when I joined the Legion 13 years ago to not get involved in political or sociological discussion as it only incites division. The Rebel Legion is a costume group that does charity and not a social platform like many others easily available out there. When we start doing too much outside costuming I question if we will lose ourselves and become something we were never meant to be.

Black and brown lives matter and I wish peace to all of you in this time of Chaos and I hope that someday soon we all get back to doing what we're supposed to be doing here which is costuming not judging our fellow brothers and sisters for their choices in life.
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Walker (Ashley Walker)
Legion Council
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those who don't know me, my name is Ashley Walker, and I am a member of the Legion Council. As well as being on Council for a second term, I have been the Legion Executive Officer and am most known as a long term Legion Public Relations Officer.

I have taken a bit of time before responding to this thread, not to ignore the issue, not in a hope that it to go away, but as a White Middle-Class Male, it was important for me to listen first, while this is a Global Issue as a non-American it was also important for me to listen!

Why?

Firstly, I needed to acknowledge my privilege, I needed to acknowledge that no matter what I do I will never fully understand what it means or feels to be a Person of Colour other than a purely academic or intellectual understanding. So I needed to listen to People of Colour, to better under how are feeling, to listen to what they are saying. I have been reading what people have been saying on this forum, the comments on our official Instagram and Facebook Page but I have also looked wider to see what my POC friends on Social Media are saying, researching the Black Lives Matters movement.

Secondly, I need to understand my perspective, how I see the world. As an Australian, while not immune to this issue, it not as prevalent as in places like the United States but it is still an issue. Approximately 10,000 people protested in my home city of Melbourne yesterday, to speak out about the 435 Aboriginals that have died in custody since 1991 (post a Royal Commission on Indigenous Deaths in Custody). And while we have reports of Pepper Gas being employed by the Police, we haven't seen the violence that I have read and seen in the US.

Thirdly, as an elected leader of the Rebel Legion, I have been entrusted by the membership to lead not just people like me but everyone. With that becomes a level of responsibility, a responsibility to try and put my privilege aside, to put my perspective aside and to represent us collectively as an organisation.

So where am I after listening?
As a former LPRO, I can tell you the job is hard, anyone (whether they have held the office or not) that tells you otherwise doesn't fully understand the role or its responsibility. For the most part, I didn't post on the Legion's Social Media account for the exceptions of Legion Statements, these were always done by me or the LCO (you can tell which ones the LCO posted as Angel or Bill would sign off on them by name), they were some of the hardest tasks and took time to write to ensure that they were representative of the Legion. I generally wouldn't do this alone, I would consult, I would inform the LCO, and if controversial, I would try and anticipate how they would be trolled. At the end of the day, in the event of a PR nightmare, I would be in the centre of it regardless.

I'm not a Social Media or even a Public Relations Guru, I am not trained in it - the reason I was LPRO was that I was strong on Brand and Branding. It is worth remembering this, it's worth remembering that we are volunteers and often underskilled in areas, so when something goes wrong we are usually underprepared for the snowball effect. It is worth remembering when comparing what we do to organisations like Lucasfilm or Disney, that they not only have people trained in Social Media, they have people that are at the top of the game! I will say more on this later, but this is something that we need to remember and act upon when it comes to the election period.

I think everyone will agree that Social Media in particular and to a lesser sense here on the forums has become ugly over the last couple of days, it has got personal, it's become vindictive and it's upsetting. Social Media, within nerdom, is turning toxic, especially within the Star Wars community. It doesn't take much to for a simple positive gesture to turn into a wasteland of depravity - as an example a few years ago, when we wished Kathleen Kennedy a happy birthday (seems innocent enough), we had to moderate and delete comments that included suggestions that she should be Murdered, that she should Commit Suicide and even suggestions that she should be Violently and Brutally Raped.

Now - Would I have made the post as written? No, I wouldn't. I can't speak for Chris (he has already) but like many when I read it, I was disappointed, and a little taken back by it... then I read the comments. It would be unfair to ask what I would have written because I have hindsight. But unfortunately what has been said, and that can not be undone!

If I am honest with everyone, I would have eared on not posting! That is not saying I wouldn't, just that it would be my initial feeling on the topic before looking int to it deeper! Would that make me complicit via silence... probably! But I'm not going to lie to you and just write what I think people want to hear, all I ask is that you hear me out on my rational!

People have said already in this forum, that we as an organisation shouldn't engage in Political Movements, I have also read the counter-argument that Black Life Matters is not Political Movement but a basic Human Right and from reading yesterday I think it's both!
Black Lives Matters wrote:
"In 2013, three radical Black organizers — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi — created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman." - https://blacklivesmatter.com/herstory/
There is a good reason why we tend to not engage in Political Movements and it's not for the reason previously stated. It is not to appease those who may disagree, it's not because All Life Matters, I fully agree that if you are a Racist you do not belong in a group such as Rebel Legion, just like if you are misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, or hold any other form of bigotry! It's simple, it's a violation of the chapter, and it's grounds for disciplinary action - SIMPLE!!!! (and yes I do realise that it's not that simple)

A big factor for me would be the people who it directly affects, how the topic will be trolled and how that will also affect those people. In matters like this, I have no issue offending people, that may disagree with the principles of the Rebel Legion! An example of this is when I wrote a post for Transgender Visibility Day last year when talking to a member of the Transgender Community, I was quite open that I had concerns about the reaction that we would no doubt get and the need to watch threads for hurtful comments (a position they agreed with), which meant that the post had to be heavily moderated... not to protect those who made hurtful comments but for those who could feel hurt and unsupported.

Preparing for Social Media Campaigns and statements such as Black History Month (or Pride, or the aforementioned Transgender Visibility day), are (in my opinion) easy to get behind and safer as temperaments are lower and you have time to prepare. Statements such as the BLM one are a lot harder and a lot easier to get wrong (as we have found), instead of having a period time to consider what you are writing, you have moments to hours to write, whereby Privilege and Perspective can, unfortunately, creep in and things can be worded that if you truly thought about, don't reflect what you honestly believe. While harder, I'm not saying that we shouldn't make them - in my time in various roles of RL Leadership have written or shadow written a number of statements that require a quick turn around for posting (like yesterdays 2nd post or the public COVID-19 statement). But we have to remember that our PR Team are not fully Trained PR or Social Media professionals, they are volunteers trying to do their best!

Where do we go from now?
I'm not excusing the post that was made, I'm not justifying it either, what I am doing is highlighting the complexity surrounding it and how care really needs to be applied in these situations. As Aunt May says "With great power, comes great responsibility"!

And while it's easy to say what's done is done... I'm hearing that we need to change, and I agree. The question is what to change and how...

The biggest one I am hearing the complaint that the Legion Council is very male and very white, and I again agree - It's worth noting that out of all the listed candidates we got the most diverse council that we could (both women where elected, the only Latino was elected, both non-US citizens were, and the only LGBTQ+ candidate was elected). We have to remember that the makeup of Council is reflective of those that are nominated... and in that, we all have a role to play... if you know of someone you think is leadership material that will also bring greater diversity to the Legion Leadership, please encourage them, please nominate them, the worse they can say is no!

Personally, I'm not a fan of quotas, especially not in a democratic process. This is not for racist reasons, or to better my chances of being elected, but I would hate for our diversity to become tokenism (like the "Token Black Guy" on TV). So do we need to re-look at Legion Diversity Officers? If so, what would that look like? Do they need to be generalists, or do we need portfolios... this is a question I can't answer but I'm confident that we have people a lot more knowledgable in this than me. So here's my challenge, write a Charter Amendment draft for the introduction of Diversity Officers: What they do, how they are appointed, etc... and send it to me, I will work with you to get it to the point where it can be submitted and will co-sponsor it with you!

Lastly and I have hinted on this, we need people, we need volunteers, but most of all we need skilled people! No offence to Chris (he is a very hard worker) but there are areas that we are always in strong need of, like people trained in Social Media, copywriters, etc... If you have a skill please put your hand up, contact me or Bill or Council... we want to hear from you!

[b]On a Personal Note[/i]
I'm a Father, I have a beautiful 6yr old daughter and I am lucky (privileged even) that I don't need to worry about her indiscriminately murdered because of the colour of her skin!

But I did a lot of thinking last night about her. She has a spontaneous genetic disorder, one that has caused severe speech delay, and it breaks my heart to see her discriminated against because of her inability to speak properly! Discriminated against due to something she was born with! While not an issue now, her disorder will also most likely result in tumours that while most likely benign will cause external physical deformity but again will cause more discrimination! Thinking about my daughters future at times is hard because I know she will face adversity and as a parent, I want the best for her future!

It honestly breaks me, but I know that is nothing compared to what an Afro-American Parent must fear currently not know if their child will have a future and that... that breaks me even more!

Black Lives Do Matter... four simple words, that could have really elevated the pain and anguish that we have seen in the Legion the last few days, but also the World of the course of history!

We are better than this, and it is time that we come together to not only address this issue but to pave a way to the future to the point that it is not an issue!
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Pixeldust (Lucy Paulina Sears)
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nailed it Ashley...nailed it. Thank you for sharing that kind of insight.
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Gregory ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is really good discussion.
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Gregory Smith
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naberrie (Beth Mitchell)
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really really thoughtful insight and honest genuine responses from both James and Ashley. Thank you for hearing everyone who voiced concerns in this thread, I’ve said in every post but I understand we don’t always get things right. Of course we are all imperfect and rushed and as a result imperfect things can be said. The most important part is that we hear and rectify this.

I really hope the conversations we’ve all had in this thread ring true, and that this momentum is kept up. We gotta keep pushing, learning, and growing so that we can do right by all of us. And I hold hope that we will. Smile

love and safety to you and yours,

Beth
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Mousetrooper ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What we need to do and a lot of the older members will agree with me is get back to our roots, costuming. I would say 99.9% of the people that joined when I joined 13 years ago right after the creation of this group would agree that we were only about costuming and charity for over 10 years and only in the past couple years have we had a group of people join us that want to take our club and turn it into a Justice platform.

That does not mesh with why we were even created. We were created because we all love Star Wars and costuming and it was an escape from reality. Unfortunately all these social justice issues when I come here that I have to deal with everyday outside the Rebel Legion have now been forced upon me within the group that I love. We always came here to to break away from the everyday societal bullcrap.

There are more than enough groups where everyone here who wants to be involved in social justice issues can join and get involved but the Rebel Legion was never meant to be that. I support your cause entirely as its mine too as a man of color, I just do not support the platform you're trying to use to force the rest of us who don't agree with using the Rebel Legion like this to deal with it and it's not acceptable.

If these things continue I'm going to be forced to call for a vote of no confidence in our Command Staff. I do not take this lightly I've never had to do this in the 13 plus years I've been here but I will be damned if I allow a group that I've been a part of so long.and had a hand in forwarding, that has done so much good for charity in the world to be used as a platform for issues that have nothing to do with costuming Star Wars. By doing this all you folks are doing is taking the fun out of the place that we all loved for many years before you joined us.

This path is one that should never have been entertained to begin with but now that some of us are on that path we need to address the issue and make all of you understand that we are a costuming group that does charity work and nothing more. That's why you don't see any Rebel Legion members out there in full costume at protests because it's not allowed by Lucasfilm or Disney. There are plenty of platforms out there with people that are as passionate as the rest of you but this is not the platform. Get back to doing what the rebel Legion was created for which is enjoying costuming and the escape from reality that it brings. We all get enough of reality everyday when we turn on the TV and see the news or we're actually experiencing it right in front of us. This should be a place where we come to break away from all that.

Now to address the issue if anyone is being discriminated against in this group in any way shape or form they have to bring it up to the Command Staff and membership, we have to know as members that someone is being this way towards you. The legion has always taken a stand for its' members against anyone that would come against our members from within. If people are not taking care of that at the command level then you have to vote those people out not change the entire Legion around to fit your agenda.

I'm afraid that if we continue down this path it's an extremely slippery slope and will take us to a place that the Rebel Legion was never meant to go to. And remember once we go there we can't take it back we become a platform for every social justice issue coming down the pike. And don't get me wrong I understand the Rebel Legion is popular as we are as well known, and we are as socially out there as we put ourselves that we are a very very enticing platform to try to turn into what you folks are pushing us to become. But as a long-standing member and I'm sure there are plenty that will agree with me we cannot allow this to continue. Costuming is our mission, charity is a major benefit, that's all we are and are meant to be. Anything else only serves to take the joy out of this for so many and forces us into the reality we are here to escape.
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Gregory ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankly if seeing your club take a stance that Black Lives Matter takes the joy out of it for you, you might be in the wrong club.
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riathewolf (Alexandra Wolsiefer)
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do understand that Lucasfilm has taken the same stance, yes? Because you are correct. We do represent these characters because they allow us too. And The Rebel Legion making this statement is in line with what Lucasfilm and Disney are doing as well.
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Mousetrooper ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Making a statement is fine using the Legion as a platform for the actual activism involved in making the change is not good.

And don't ever think I don't support Black Lives Matter, as a Native American I have seen plenty of racism towards myself growing up in Illinois. Being the only person of color in an entirely caucasian town was not a walk in the park. Moving to Florida liberated me from that nightmare.
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AladdinMark ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mousetrooper wrote:
Making a statement is fine using the Legion as a platform for the actual activism involved in making the change is not good.


That's like saying "paying the issue lip service with thoughts and prayers is fine but doing any of the actual work involved in understanding, growing, and changing is too much."

Lack of action makes the words meaningless
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wabbit89 ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I think this conversation has been very civil and enlightening, and I'm glad it happened. I'm not on Facebook or Intastagram. I'm not privy to anything that happened elsewhere. I didn't even know there was a statement until I saw this thread.

I put my opinions on the statement in an earlier post. I think we didn't do great at first but then made a good attempt at fixing it, and that we are moving forward together to try to work on some issues. That's all any of us can do if we make a mistake, which we all do. I don't see much division, honestly. I think we are doing ok. And I appreciate the big post just now on this. Being in charge of any group is HARD, and that's a very good point about us not having the skills we need sometimes. I'm thankful to the whole command staff for everything.

As for this being a social justice platform, well, I agree that Rebel Legion is an escape from reality in many ways and that's great. But there comes a time, and some causes, that transcend that. Should we endorse political candidates? Use this as a place to organize protests? No. But a position statement on something this huge? That our parent company has made? Yeah, I think we should do that.
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Gregory ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mousetrooper wrote:
Making a statement is fine using the Legion as a platform for the actual activism involved in making the change is not good.


So what "justice platform" or "activism" has occurred that you object to so strongly?
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Gregory Smith
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InevitableBetrayal (Arielle)
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There comes a time when the ideals we embody when we put on our costumes and we play at being heroes need to cross over to the real world. It’s uncomfortable, yes, and the work is hard, but if we close our eyes and refuse to do it, we aren’t worthy to wear the mantle.
I pin my Leia bunz on for the side of justice every time I wear them.
I’m proud that our work has the opportunity to transcend being merely an escape. This is what counts.
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wabbit89 ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This.

Also, I was getting back on to say that no one makes you read these threads. No one makes you get involved in anything more than you want to be.

I was a member for years before I knew this section really existed. I just scrolled down to my base, then to events, then attended said events if I could/wanted to and was not any more involved than that. If you are bothered by the more that the Legion sometimes is, then do that. But as for me, I'm in for the more.
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It matters which side we choose. Even if there will never be more light than darkness... For every life we touch, it matters. I don't turn toward the light because it means some day I'll win some sort of cosmic game. I turn toward it because it is the light.

Qui-Gon Jinn, Master and Apprentice, Claudia Gray
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