The organizers of a fundraiser at St. Andrew’s United Church on Saturday say they hope the event will inspire social change and a dialogue about homophobia and transphobia.
Scott Jones and Krista Lane are two of the faces behind Kaleidoscope. Jones was attacked outside a New Glasgow club in October 2013. The attack, which he says happened because he is gay, left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Kaleidoscope will feature music, spoken word, and songs from Vox, the choir Jones founded three years ago. Vox first performed in New Glasgow, and participated in events with Halifax Pride and the Phoenix Youth Choir. Vox was also the name of a choir Jones started the night before his attack.
Kaleidoscope is a fundraiser for a bigger movement called Don’t Be Afraid, which got its start in November 2013 when Jones and friends started a Facebook group that encouraged anyone anywhere to hold up a sign reading Don’t Be Afraid. The slogan was Jones’s idea for a button that his friend created. The group officially became a not-for-profit in 2014. Lane is on its board of directors.
Jones says the organization’s mandate is to eliminate homophobia through creative expression and honest conversation.
“That’s inspired by our first event in New Glasgow where we had theatre and music, all in the hopes of having an open dialogue about homophobia and transphobia,” Jones says. “That’s what we are all about.”
Jones, who now speaks at local schools and conferences, says conversations about homophobia and transphobia needs to start with children.
“It’s not beyond their years, because that’s where a lot of fear starts on the playground, passed down from what you learned in the household,” Jones says. “The younger generation is teaching us. They are leading the way in terms of what we need to be fighting for.”
Prior to the attack, Jones says he never really saw himself as an activist.
“In the first couple of weeks after the attack, I remember thinking, ‘This conversation really needs to happen.’ I felt it on such a visceral level,” Jones says. “For my sake and society’s sake, needing to have that conversation.”
But he says working on Don’t Be Afraid is therapeutic.
“For me it’s been a big tool for recovery, to work through some of my fear and confusion and anger and frustration about what happened to me,” he says. “It’s been a major catalyst for healing for me.”
He and Lane believe Vox and events such as Kaleidoscope are therapeutic for those in attendance, too.
“It offers a moment of letting it sink in and the choir almost lets that do it for you,” says Lane, who often speaks at Don’t Be Afraid events. “And it’s super cathartic to sit there and listen to something and then have the music wash over you.”
“We often say we are singing for social change, but often we are crying for social change,” Jones continues. “Oftentimes we end up in tears.”
Jones says the message at Kaledioscope will be a positive one and will help others address their fears.
“I think everyone could use a little uplifting right now,” he says. “I think the messages we’re putting across are very uplifting ones.”
Kaleidoscope takes place at St. Andrews United Church in Halifax at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. All proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction go to Don’t Be Afraid campaign and the Vox program.