By Jess Shitara
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably heard a little bit about #SWRepMatters. In essence, we are a grassroots campaign advocating for representation and inclusion for marginalized groups in entertainment. We love fictional media, namely Star Wars, and we want that far, far away galaxy to be better. We want it to show our world as it actually is: diverse, queer, multifaceted, complex, with people thriving despite many intersections of oppression. We desire acknowledgement of nepotism, privilege, and systems of oppression that need to be overcome so more stories can be seen and heard. We know media is a huge source of learning for the Western world—we want it to reflect the consequences of colonization and diaspora that many people globally experience.
This may seem like a heavy directive, and perhaps it is, but only because no one seemed to be asking the hard questions collectively. It’s hard to be a lone voice in a sea of privilege and outright blindness to oppression. We knew we needed to come together to be louder, and now we are ready to do more. #swrepmatters was born out of a group seeking to have conversation, and we want that group and conversation to grow through www.swrepmatters.com.
We started as a small team facilitating a conversation on Twitter in 2017, shortly before Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released. And as of July 2019, this campaign has hosted conversations online and on stage with multiple panels, including one at Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019, and been featured in various articles, and many team members have given interviews across the podcast world to educate others on the need for representation.
None of these things would’ve been possible without all the support from the Star Wars Twitter-verse and many members of Lucasfilm. This was a collective effort, and we hope that by expanding to other mediums, we can continue to center the conversation around marginalized voices, and demand change. Thank you for all of your support, and for knowing that representation matters.