“When We Rise” is an eight-hour mini-series from Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black that chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, set-backs and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBTQ people who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. equality movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to today. “When We Rise” premieres MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27 (9:00–11:00 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network.
Viewers meet Cleve Jones, a young Quaker activist who escapes his repressive life in Phoenix and heads to San Francisco in hopes of finding refuge and joining the peace movement; Ken Jones, an African-American sailor in the United States Navy who is reassigned from Vietnam to San Francisco to spearhead a new military desegregation program; Roma Guy, a dedicated member of the women’s movement who has not fully come to terms with her own sexuality. When NOW purges lesbians from its ranks, Roma moves to San Francisco and dedicates herself to opening the first women’s center in the country run by women, for women. Diane, a nurse and social activist whom Roma met in the Peace Corps in Africa also moves to San Francisco to join the women’s movement.
In the two-hour premiere, as these idealistic social-justice fighters come out or are outed, they are forced from their jobs, their movements and their homes, and must escape to San Francisco in hopes of finding safe harbor. When their hopes turn to disappointment, they join the fledgling LGBTQ movement and together, locked arm in arm, set out to change the world.
“When We Rise” stars Guy Pearce as Cleve Jones, Mary-Louise Parker as Roma Guy, Rachel Griffiths as Diane, Michael K. Williams as Ken Jones, Austin P. McKenzie as Young Cleve, Jonathan Majors as Young Ken, Emily Skeggs as Young Roma and Fiona Dourif as Young Diane.
Guest starring in Part I are Whoopi Goldberg as Pat Norman, Rosie O’Donnell as Del Martin, Denis O’Hare as Jim Foster, David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Jones, Carrie Preston as Sally Gearhart, Charlie Carver as Michael, Maddie Corman as Phyllis, Michael DeLorenzo as Jose Sarria, Nick Eversman as Scott Remple, Caitlin Gerard as Jean, Sam Jaeger as Richard, Justin Sams as Sylvester, Douglas Smith as Young Man, Julian Works as Tomi and Tyler Young as Matt.
Parts 2, 3 and 4 of the miniseries will air on March 1, 2 and 3 at 9 PM ET/PT each night.