In the first look at Dustin Lance Black’s upcoming miniseries When We Rise, we see rioters facing police brutality, protesters fighting for LGBT equality, and politicians talking about how they need to stay one step ahead of “the blacks and the homosexuals.” The all too familiar images — which could very well be taken from real life events in 2016 — form the backdrop to the 1960s civil rights movements that are at the heart of ABC’s eight-part television event.
Following a diverse family of LGBT people who helped shape the gay rights movement in the latter half of the twentieth century, When We Rise has the makings of a new TV classic. For starters, it has a multiculti cast that includes Guy Pearce, Whoopi Goldberg, Mary Louise Parker, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Rosie O’Donnell. Even looking beyond the A-listers involved, you’ll find Empire‘s Rafael de la Fuente playing Ricardo Cantú (activist Cleve Jones’ partner) and Scandal‘s Matthew Del Negro playing San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, among others, suggesting the decades-spanning series will really put intersectional politics at the center of its message.
The trailer, set to a haunting cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” promises a powerful history lesson in civil rights activism. At its core and with its sprawling cast the miniseries shines with the promise of hope in the face of oppression. As one character says in the trailer, “We fight until they realize this is our home! And we’re fighting with our lives!” In other words, it might just be the perfect antidote (and requisite template) for living and fighting through a Trump presidency.
The eight-part television event When We Rise airs on ABC in February of 2017.