'When We Rise' shows emotional, powerful San Francisco LGBT movement

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Next Monday at 9 p.m., ABC7 debuts a four-part mini-series called "When We Rise," about the LGBT movement in San Francisco.

RELATED: ABC's 'When We Rise' has special screening at Castro Theater

There was an early showing of episodes Monday and it was more than a preview, based on the reactions from inside the Castro Theater. The time is right, the political climate could not be more ripe.

After eight hours of viewing, the audience is using words like, "authentic," "raw," and "validating."

It was a cold night outside the Castro Theatre with nothing but warmth inside.

If you know Cleve Jones, then you know "When We Rise" is the title of a book he wrote. The mini-series might rattle cages among Americans who never came to grips with the LGBT movement--they're in for a surprise.

"Oh I think middle America is definitely ready for this," said Val Rob, who was part of the packed house watching the marathon.

"I think this is one of the first times a major, public network is pushing out stories the way it ought to get pushed out there," said screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

Black, an Oscar winner, wrote the script that uses emotion and personal stories to weave a complex narrative of this modern civil rights movement.

Jones is a central figure. "I think if you grow up thinking you will have things a certain way, it can produce a kind of anger that is constructive," he said.

It does make compelling television. Black compares it to Roots in terms of social impact. For some viewers, the series is a promise of liberation.

"It is brave and bold and life-saving because there are a lot of young people who feel alone tonight and two weeks from now, they won't," said Black.

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