What makes one stand up?

The entertainment industry gambles incessantly on the answer to that question.

Why did An Inconvenient Truth make people stand up in 2006? If the recycling movement of the 1970s had had Al Gore, would recycling have had more staying power than bell bottoms?

Timing, uniqueness, quality, and a visceral hook are all contributing factors. But even with a preponderance of good elements, the public still may not respond.

In 1941, Mexican American Ralph Lazo saw his friends ripped from their homes and incarcerated in camps. He decided to take a stand. He boarded the bus with his friends and was taken to Manzanar, where he lived with 120,000 Japanese Americans until 1944.

We could speculate as to his honorable motivations. But there’s also something indefinable here. We all strive for some sort of inspiration and connection. Perhaps that is what Lazo found.

Sold-out is pretty much an affirmation of having made a connection with people. And sold-out is what the DVD release party for Stand Up for Justice was. This wasn’t a premiere, as the short film about Lazo was made six years ago. Only the ‘Making of’ featurette was screened; there were no A-list stars to congratulate, and no red carpet to strut on. Nevertheless the support was overwhelming.

Again we might hypothesize why: untold story; activism and art combined; community ties. Yet so often that’s not enough. So many people don’t board the bus. But this one did. And it’s as if his film is compelling the viewer to stand up.

Stand Up for Justice, produced by Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, written and directed by John Esaki.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Liu.  L to R: Marcus Toji, Brittany Ishibashi, Alexis Cruz

– Former Link http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/blog/2010/02/stand-justice-film-ralph-lazo-0#sthash.5UtrFAut.dpuf

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