Saphia Suarez: I am Saphia. I tell liberatory narratives through theater and film. I grew up in this work, going to anti-war protests, going to retreats with my mom and taking notes on facilitation and organizational development. It always made sense that it had to inform the work that I did, even if I was in performance. The film series came about because I was interested in answering some questions about how you support black leaders, how you use storytelling to create a culture and a culture shift, and when creating a new culture and a space like Edge, how you invite people into that space. How do you set that culture?
The three films in the series each represent a major aspect of the sector that we wanted to draw attention to. The title of the film is also the topic of the film. And it represents a cultural tenet that we want to bring into Edge and into the sector, and into the world, hopefully. So, the first is “Swinging Philanthropy Dick Is Indecent,” which represents a main archetype in funding practices right now, particularly with white funders in the sector. The second is “Mediocrity Is Not the Standard,” which we identified as a main archetype in white-led organizations, particularly those transitioning to Black leadership and leadership of color. And the third one is “Generosity Fuels Innovation and Evolution,” which captures the heart of the culture people of color are trying to bring to the space.
There’s something that happens when we take in a story. Our guard goes down and we like, put ourselves in the shoes of the main character, and we are just immersed because we are expected to just be entertained. And we don’t always recognize the work that’s happening to us.