"Can't Stop Change" shares stories of queer and trans resistance, resilience, and brilliance in the face of rising seas, stronger storms, and escalating state violence. Through place-based interviews across Florida, the story maps a web of entanglements between the legislative violence to our bodies and lands, and uplifts the dreams, strategies, and joy of queer, trans, and two-spirit organizers.
Amidst so much unknown, "Can't Stop Change" shares an emergent hope: Moments of disaster create opportunities for immense transformation, where what once seemed impossible becomes possible. As queer and trans beings, we know the powerful freedom possible when we work with change to align ourselves with our deepest desires.
As we look towards the next hurricane season and next legislative cycle, how can we work with the changes to come to shape the futures we want?
Trailer Out Now:
The main goal of Can’t Stop Change is to create an organizing tool for fostering conversations about queer climate justice strategy for navigating rising legislative attacks against trans, queer, immigrant, and racialized communities and the lands we call home. We hope to help initiate and deepen proactive strategies for community resilience to storms and state violence alike.
Meet the Team
Can't Stop Change is co-directed by Vanessa Raditz, Natalia Villarán-Quiñones,
Yarrow Koning, Shoog McDaniel, and Jess Martínez.
Vanessa (they/them) is a queer ecojustice educator and storyteller dedicated to community healing, opening access to land and resources, and fostering a thriving local economy based on human and ecological resilience. Along with Deseree Fontenot, Vanessa was a founding member of the Queer Ecojustice Project in Spring 2016, educating and organizing at the intersection of ecological justice and queer liberation. They are now the Director of the in-production collaborative documentary project Fire & Flood: Queer Resilience in the era of Climate Change, which is part of their doctoral work in Critical Studies in Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia. The project addresses the contextual vulnerability of multiply-marginalized queer, trans, and two-spirit communities to climate change disasters, as well as the lessons for the climate justice movement that comes from these communities' resilience and histories of struggle for liberation.
Natalia (ella/she/her) is a Queer and Femme Afro-Caribbean, an intersectional ecofeminist, youth organizer, and artist based in Puerto Rico. She believes in the transformative and healing power of the community and how important it is to preserve oral and written stories and traditions. As the community organizer for Queers4ClimateJustice, Natalia has opened new conversations with climate justice organizers in PR about inclusion of LGBTQ+ issues, organized a Q4CJ Youth Roundtable for Pride month in 2022, coordinated a cohort of 12 queer
and trans organizers from PR to attend the 2023 Creating Change conference in San Francisco, and expanded the reach and relationships of the instagram account @queers4climatejustice. She is also a poet, published in the anthology Puerto Rico en mi Corazón in 2019, and now celebrating her first book: Desamor y Memorias de una Virgo (The Heartbreak and Memories of a Virgo).
Yarrow (they/them) is a creative professional skilled in community development, environmental education, and wildlife ecology with over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector. Yarrow is passionate about wildlife ecology, conservation, social justice, food justice, and creating accessible community spaces. Yarrow recently graduated with a Master's of Environmental Education program at Florida Atlantic University and has worked for the past two years as an environmental educator at multiple sites in Florida. Yarrow is connected with queer and trans organizations across the state of Florida that are fighting against the anti-woke policies of the governor and state legislature, including the Florida Coalition for Transgender Liberation.
Shoog (they/them) is a southern, queer, non-binary, fat photographer and artist living in Gainesville, Florida. They have been taking photos since high school, when a friend dumpster dove 200 disposable cameras from behind a Walgreens. They became obsessed, and began documenting everything. They now shoot with a canon 6D, and have yet to take a break from capturing intimate moments and beautiful people in everyday life. Shoog’s work is about highlighting bodies and lives that are often overlooked by popular society. They enjoy photographing fat bodies, trans bodies, and queer bodies. People`with gap-toothed smiles and missing buttons. They strive to connect the viewer of each photo to beauty within themselves, through understanding the brilliancy of diversity, by showing them that there are many ways to be beautiful. Shoog also focuses their lens on the wildlife that Florida has to offer, and strives to expose the majestic nature of Florida's fresh water springs that hold them up when thin.cis.het.patriarchy gets them down.
Jess (they/them) is a queer Latinx, working-class, femme raised in Georgia and committed to struggles for justice in the South. They are a co-founder of the Athens Housing Advocacy Team, a grassroots effort to organize tenants and allies to fight for the right to affordable, healthy, dignified, stable housing, and they are also an organizer with Dignidad Inmigrante en Athens and the Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition. Jess is a Ph.D. candidate in Geography at the University of Georgia. As a production assistant with Fire & Flood, Jess has been working on planning and logistics for new interviews, including translations, audio recording, and conducting Spanish language interviews.
While the Co-Directing team has shepherded this project from the beginning, the larger Can't Stop Change team includes many folks who have contributed crucial technical support, advising, translation and organizing.
Elias Hamza Acevedo, Editor
Hamza (he/him) is an Afro-Latine filmmaker and human rights activist, passionate about storytelling and visual artistry. After receiving a Bachelors degree in Film and Media arts at the University of Tampa (UT), Hamza pursued a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film at City College of New York (CCNY). With over 10 years of experience, E.H.'s work has a wide range from independent short and feature films, to commercial productions, news reporting, and music videos. His films have received numerous awards and accolades, such as international awards from Bahrain and various U.S. national film festivals, for its powerful storytelling and compelling visual aesthetics. Elias Hamza continues to push the boundaries of storytelling through his unique perspective currently at NowThis Media. He is also known for his dedication to promoting representation in the film and media industry. He's an advocate for increasing the visibility of underrepresented voices, and uses his craft to shed light on important social issues.
Layel Camargo, Impact Advisor
Layel (they/them) is a cultural strategist, land steward, filmmaker and artist, and is a descendent of the Yaqui tribe and Mayo tribes of the Sonoran Desert. Layel is transgender and non binary person. They graduated from UC Santa Cruz with dual degrees in Feminist Studies and Legal Studies. Layel was the Impact Producer for “The North Pole Show” season two with Executive Producer Rosario Dawson. They also produced and hosted ‘Did We Go Too Far’, a podcast with an ecological justice organization, Movement Generation. At The Center for Cultural Power as the Ecological Arts and Culture Manager they created alongside Favianna Rodriguez ‘Climate Woke’ a national campaign to center BIPOC voices in climate justice. Due to wanting to shape a new world they co-founded ‘Shelterwood Collective’ a land based organization that teaches land stewardship, creative envisioning and healing for long term survival. Layel was named on the Grist 2020 Fixers List, as well as celebrated by Yerba Buena Center of the Arts list of people to watch out for in 2019.
Robin Harris, Organizer
Robin (she/her) is a Texas native now in Central Florida.
Robin is a social justice activist, writer, poet, public speaker, and tour guide. In 2022, Robin ran for office as a Green Party candidate for Florida House District 41. She fights for racial justice and against all types of discrimination.
Can't Stop Change weaves together interviews with thirteen trans, queer, and two-spirit collaborators across the state of Florida, from organizing mutual aid in Miami to battling legislative violence in Tallahassee, and tracing the many connections in between.
We are Crowdfunding through GiveButter!
Half of the funds raised will go towards covering the rest of the production & post-production expenses, while the other half will go to a mutual aid fund for the brilliant people interviewed for the film. For the mutual aid fund, we already have a goal of $5000 to meet collaborators' current needs, including lost income due to violent legislation in Florida.
We have many fun perks as a thank you to donors, including QEP's Queer Ancestral Futures zine, brand new Queers for Climate Justice shirts, and of course: early access to the film as soon as it is released
Can't Stop Change is fiscally sponsored by the Southern Documentary Fund. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, please donate through the link on our fiscal-sponsorship page.