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Friday, August 31, 2012

The “Ardor’s Bridge” campaign is over.


It has been a stressful month. Between the people supporting the idea of “Ardor’s Bridge” and the stress of watching our contribution numbers creep too slowly toward our goal, I feel torn.

I’m relieved to at least know the outcome. I’m sorry that I couldn’t drive this project home.

Here is the letter that I sent out on my social media and email channels today:
~
The “Ardor’s Bridge” campaign is over.
We didn’t hit our target goal. No one that pledged a contribution to our kickstarter campaign will be charged. The campaign is done.
We didn’t make it.
We tried to develop an idea and raise funds to see it through. We raised about 20%. To the 18 people that did contribute, and those who wanted to do so but couldn’t for a variety of reasons, I want to say “Thank You”. Thank you for taking the time to read what this project was about. Thanks for reaching into your own pocket in a time when we all feel the economic pinch. And, thanks for believing that every kid deserves to be part of the dialogue that helps to change the culture they face every day.
We didn’t make it. We’ll pull back, regroup and explore some other options. If we can find a way to bring this about, we’ll let you know. I hope we can count on you again in the future for your support.
Thanks for all of your belief and support. I appreciate it.
~
For my first play, it wasn’t a bad effort. Sure, it’s not Shakespeare, but, it was written in the right spirit. It was written as a tool for positive change. I wanted to do my small part in helping schools change the culture of indignity and bias that faces every kid that doesn’t feel like they “fit in”. When you realize that the kids who don’t fit in vastly outnumber the kids that do, you start to see the frustratingly stupid way we as humans treat each other, and allow ourselves to be treated. You start to understand the frustration and fear each kid faces, to varying degrees, every day in school.

My play/video project didn’t raise enough funds on kickstarter to get it off the ground. That doesn’t mean the problem goes away. Kids will still be bullied. Kids will still be mocked for who they are perceived to be instead of who they are or what they do. But, since enough of us haven’t taught our children not to punish others for having the audacity to be themselves, the state has stepped in.
The state government has passed a law that charges schools with changing the culture in their buildings.

Laws mean consequences for those that run afoul of them, and punishments for the offenders. But, you can’t change fear and ignorance through punishment. That can only be done through dialogue. Understanding between kids is the only thing that will start that change. Schools will need your help.

For those parents who do not teach their kids to hate, your kid is going to need your guidance. Singling other children out for being different is a common way for kids to act on their own fears. This can get out of hand pretty easily and surprise those parents who teach tolerance at home. Schools will no longer be able to turn a blind eye to bigotry and will err on the side of caution in the early days of these new laws. Please make sure that your kids are aware of the new guidelines, even if they seem outrageous to you. They are still real, still laws and will still be enforced. Change will come as common sense takes hold, but for now, remember that administrators, teachers and your kids are all going to need you to be involved. Dialogue, understanding on all sides and tolerance for the views of others is what is needed, now more than ever.

For those parents who still feel that LGBT kids should be mocked, made fun of or brutalized, be aware. This is just the beginning of change. The days when it’s acceptable to openly and actively discriminate against another American based on their sexual orientation are coming to a close.

I wanted to help by writing a play with a story about tolerance and acceptance, filming it as a movie, and then making that film available to schools to be used as a way to get those dialogues going between students and their peers. That’s all I wanted to do. I didn’t expect to change the world or cure the ills of society. I just wanted to help. To that end, I gathered together a bunch of people who also felt that this was a worthwhile cause. Still more saw the value of it and contributed funds. Even more planned to do so but couldn’t for a variety of reasons. We all knew that we weren’t going to single-handedly fix the world. We just wanted to help a little. If we all help a little, that can add up to a lot.

We’ll find a way. As the creative and generous people I brought together for this project move back to their regular lives, the dream lives on. We will all find ways to help. And, who knows… maybe we’ll find another way to produce “Ardor’s Bridge”. If it’s a good enough idea, the universe won’t let it die.