by Craig Juntunen
Our tour sent us to Scottsdale, night 17 of 62. It was a homecoming of sorts, at least for me: I live in Scottsdale.
The core message of the tour is that family matters and every child deserves a family. Last night was a standing room only crowd and the energy was a real celebration of family. I had a very special night as I was able to be with my entire family. It was also a real privilege to share the experience with Congressman Trent Franks and his family, and the sold out theater was made up of many families.
What I did not know before the tour, but what I do now, is that this film is very well received by children 10 and older, especially teenagers. They also seem to understand that social change comes from people who care and it is exciting and encouraging when teenagers come up to me after the film and tell me they want to share the film with all of their friends.
Our Q&A was kicked off with some powerful remarks from Congressman Franks. Then I was joined by Gary Cooper and Ellora DeCarlo, who are the founders of the Guatemala 900 advocacy organization, and Kathi Juntunen, president of Chances For Children. All are legitimate experts and the audience took advantage of this unique opportunity by asking some pointed and intelligent questions during the Q&A.
When I was running my company, I had the luxury of a number of mentors who guided me and lead me down a path of success. One of my mentors told me the measure of my success would be directly determined by the number of uncomfortable conversations I would have. As we build the movement to advocate for children living outside of parental care, according to that one very wise mentor, we need to have some uncomfortable conversations if we want to succeed. I would describe the conversations in the Q&A after the film and the after party gatherings as not uncomfortable but vibrant. What is happening is new information is colliding with common sense. That energy has made for a exchange of very interesting thoughts and perspectives and then of course the head scratching that accompanies the absurdity of the circumstances we discuss. I am grateful that I was in the company of Gary, Ellora and Kathi during last night’s discussion.
Phoenix (OK, Scottsdale) was a powerful stop on our 62-city tour. It was gratifying to see so many people come out watch the film and support the issue. In my home town I was humbled and deeply grateful for the support and a crowd that probably violated some sort of fire code. We have had many nights along the way where we set new standards, and last night was one of them.
Movements do work to produce social transformation. We can change things for the children we are advocating for. However, movements are not created out of thin air; they take people like you and me to create them. You can help our movement grow right now by asking your friends to go to stuckdocumentary.com to watch the film you connected to, learned from and inspired you to read this blog.
Next stop: Tuesday night, March 26th, in San Diego at the Gas Lamp Cinema theater. As always, show time is 7 pm.
Thank you for anything you can do to share information about the event with your friends in San Diego to produce another meaningful community experience.