Saturday, June 18, 2011

Short Film Feature: Iranian, Gay & Seeking Asylum

June 20 is World Refugee Day
June is Pride Month all over the world. Yesterday, the United Nations (UN) through the UN Human Rights Council, after years and years of disagreement and hesitations, has finally adopted a resolution in Geneva, Switzerland to extend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the members of the LGBT communities around the world. Thanks to the leadership of Brazil and South Africa along with 39 other co-signatory countries like Argentina, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Spain, Timor-Leste, UK, and USA just to name a few.

In particular, the historic UN Resolution requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights "to prepare a study on violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and call for a panel discussion to be held at the Human Rights Council (in Geneva) to discuss the findings of the study." 
The U.N. Human Rights Council approved, by a vote of 23 to 19 with three abstentions, a South African text expressing grave and immediate concern about abuses and discrimination suffered by people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 
In light of that, here's the story of two Iranian gay men as they start life anew in the U.K. as refugees after their partners were put to death by the Iranian Government because of their sexuality. In Iran, like more than 70 other countries in the world, homosexuality is still punishable by death.

Nominee, Best Short Documentary at the Phoenix Film Festival
Winner, Best LGBT Short Film at The New York Short Film Festival
Directed, Shot, & Produced by Glen Milner

Everyday Heroes: Principal Angelo Milicia's Graceful Exit

Philadelphia's acclaimed Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP) has found a hero to save its budget woes and ultimately its future. The school's principal of 16 years, Dr. Angelo Milicia, has decided to step down and avail of an early retirement to save the school $180,000 that would save the jobs of two music teachers and replenish GAMP's operations budget.
GAMP High School Jazz Band

 "Here's a man who makes a sacrifice for the students that he loves. That's amazing...You can't get any better than that." 
- Ja'Sonia Hinton, GAMP fresh graduate of Batch 2011, as told to Valerie Russ of the Philadelphia Inquirer

GAMP is a unique magnet secondary school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania first established in 1974. It started as a music-centered academic program within the Stephan Girard School in South Philadelphia that eventually evolved into an independent institution with all of its students from grades 5 to 12 as "music majors." 

Milicia, 62, spent 17 years as a teacher and 24 years as a principal in the South Philadelphia school district where GAMP belongs. He understands the scarcity of public funds for schools especially for a specialized school like GAMP. This academic year alone, the budget for the school district was cut up to 28% forcing some programs to be streamlined and some Advanced Placement Courses to be dropped.  

Now, how's that for a graceful exit? 

In Memoriam: Passing of the Torch

A tireless crusader, an inspiration to many, a dedicated mother, a supportive wife, and the great woman behind the Canadian hero, Terry Fox. 
Betty Fox (R) with Terry (L).

Read and watch videos here: IN MEMORIAM