What is CSTS?
CSTS is short for “Can’t Stop the Serenity.” CSTS started in 2006. One very avid fan decided to show the movie Serenity on the birthday of its creator, Joss Whedon, as a charity event to raise money for one of Whedon’s favorite charities, Equality Now. The concept snowballed, and 46 cities across the globe signed on to organize similar events, across the
When all was said and done, the combined efforts of all these fan-run events had raised over $65,000 for Equality Now. Immediately after, there was chatter about making the event bigger and better the followng year. It wasn’t long before it was decided to make the event an annual one. Now, every year, over 50 cities hold CSTS events worldwide, raising over $150,000 annually for Equality Now.
The film Serenity is based on Joss Whedon’s short lived “space western” series, Firefly. Although it was cancelled in 2002 after only 11 episodes, Firefly’s fan base quickly reached a similar cult standing equal to any of Whedon’s other longer lived shows, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. The fans, who call themselves Browncoats (after the rebels who fought against The Alliance during the Unification War that predates events happening in the series,) tried their hardest to get Firefly back on the air. Despite their best efforts, it was not possible to continue the series on television. Finally, in 2003, Whedon and the fans were rewarded by a film deal with Universal Studios, and so Serenity was born. The film opened in September of 2005 and has received much critical acclaim and fan adoration.
The film centers around the crew of a Firefly class spaceship called Serenity. The crew is harboring a wanted fugitive, a young girl with a deadly secret. The crew experiences all manners of peril as they are hunted by an operative of The Alliance who will stop at nothing to capture the girl. Just what is it that this girl knows, and will the crew escape the dangers ahead?
In 1992, Jessica Neuwirth, Navanethem Pillay, and Feryal Gharahi founded Equality Now to address the gender disparity in the human rights movement, which had come to dismiss certain violations as "cultural" or "private". At the time, issues such as domestic violence, rape, female genital mutilation, trafficking, and reproductive rights were often overlooked by established human rights organizations.
Neuwirth was a student of Lee Stearns, who founded the first Amnesty International chapter run exclusively by high school students. Stearns is Joss Whedon's mother. Whedon, himself, is a self-proclaimed feminist and has become well known for creating strong female characters and challenging stereotypical gender roles in his storytelling. He has been outspoken in his support of Equality Now and gender equality initiatives.