Park City High School and Treasure Mountain Junior High students greeted the week with a school wide assembly, outside, on the snowy ball field while Navajo drummers welcomed the sun rise. It’s part of the We Rise Up initiative which is about empowering youth across the US to contribute and engage in making the world a better place. Carolyn Murray covered the event and has this:
There were simultaneous screenings of the We Rise Up movie trailer in Park City High and Treasure Mountain Junior High. They began at 7:30 AM just as students arrived to school. Then the entire student body, from both schools, made their way onto the baseball field to participate in the worldwide project which has now been launched by the students of Park City.
According to Empowerment Comedian, Ernie G the launch of this movie is the launch of a movement. A 20-year veteran of stand-up comedy, he’s been doing professional inspirational comedy for 14 years. He travels the country doing up to five shows a week, challenging students to rise-up and take local action.
“An empowerment comedian is somebody who uses the magic and power of comedy and magic to open up students minds and hearts so that I can drop a message of inspiration without sounding like the teacher from Peanuts….Waa…Waaa…Waaaa….If it is to be, it is up to me. You can make anything happen with your life if you’re committed to it. And, I’ve had hundreds of thousands of students repeat that phrase…if it is to be, it’s up to me. I created myself as an empowerment comedian and when I did that, that didn’t exist in the world."
Producer, Katie Maloney said the rally is a call to action for all high school students, first time voters, to be engaged in their communities.
“It’s all about our own inquiry into ourselves. It’s not about out there. And, who’s going to fix it and what government’s going to fix it. Who’s going to come and save us. It’s really a call to action as individuals of how are we going to rise up together? And, it’s a message of social inclusion, coming together as a We, a message of social action, rising up and it really is about what inspires you? What inspires you to be empowered in your life and to take action and to make the world a better place?”
They’re hoping to find a distributor, but in the mean- time they have private screenings happening at a variety of renowned venues.
“But we are also lined up to do events at the United Nations, at the World Bank, we’re actually at the World economic Forum right now. I’m doing a launch event there also and the private screening. So, taking the movie out into the world, in addition taking it into schools. And, really having as broad an impact as possible both at the general population and a high level of leadership.”
Photographer, John Quigley worked with Park City Students using his photography 12 years ago to send a message about climate change.
“We come together in these giant forms and send a message to the broader community about issues that matter to that particular place. And this is a moment where the youth can really lead us into the future. A little over 2000 kids, standing shoulder to shoulder and sending this message that we’re rising up together, that we’re honoring diversity, we recognize that our differences can be our strengths instead of what separates us. And, to me, why I am inspired to be part of this and to bring my art to it, is that we really need to heal the heart of America.”
Quigley said the challenge is to make 2020 an election with the largest percentage of first-time voters turning out and giving their voice to civic participation.
For a look at the human art message captured by Quigley, go to KPCW Instagram, KPCW.org or KPCW’s Facebook page.