I first met Carolyn Agee during the video shoot. She was such a good sport and dealt with public transit on multiple days in the pouring-down rain to be part of the project. The “RESIST” sign on the back of her wheelchair is among the coolest things ever.
Here is Carolyn in her own words.
Tae: The “We Shall Not Be Moved” video is about bringing people together across the identity-based lines of division that have traditionally been used to pit us against each other. Can you share with us how you identify, what you need from your co-conspirators for social justice, and who you’re committed to standing up for?
Carolyn: I am disabled and gender-fluid. I think accessible forms of protest are so important! Not being able to take my wheelchair safely down steep protest routes is one of the things that keeps me from street protests. I am committed to standing up for immigrants, the LGBTQ community, the deaf and disabled and victims of police violence, victims of the industrial prison complex, and victims of hate crimes and/or gender based violence.
On Social Justice Role Models
Tae: Who are your social justice role models and influencers? Who would you most like to hear “you’ve done well” from?
Carolyn: On a personal level I am influenced by Renée Roman Nose and her work toward justice for the Native community. I am also really excited for the new work that the National Disability Theatre is starting! On a broader scale Eleanor Roosevelt was someone I admired from a young age and as a theatre artist, Augusto Boal.
Tae: What information do you consider when deciding which initiatives, ballot measures, and candidates to support?
Carolyn: Do these policies actively help to dismantle systemic injustice? Will these policies negatively affect a minority population? Is this just something we can pat ourselves on the back for without actually doing the work of changing anything or will it affect actual change? Does this candidate support human and civil rights for all people, even if they look, love, believe or act differently than they do?
On the Bottom Line
Tae: When it comes to the constant onslaught of outrage from this regime, we all have to consider our own personal bottom lines. What would you get arrested for? What would you put your safety on the line for?
Carolyn: Human rights, civil rights and freedom of speech and press are things that we not only need to achieve to a greater level in our society, but are at great risk of losing. Once lost, they are very difficult to regain. Physical freedom is not worth the imprisonment of the soul.
Tae: What gives you hope in these troubled times?
Carolyn: Art and community. We must strive to see and uplift the dignity in each other. And we must hold space with and speak out for each other when that dignity is under threat.
As part of the launch of the “We Shall Not Be Moved” music video, I’m asking members of the cast and crew five questions about identity, voting, social justice, and hope. I’ll be posting these on my blog in the coming weeks.