Yes I Am: The Ric Weiland Story
The Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice is pleased to announce a private virtual screening of the award-winning documentary Yes I Am: The Ric Weiland Story as part of our Impact Series. The documentary celebrates the life of an influential queer pioneer, activist, and philanthropist—the co-founder of Microsoft, Ric Weiland!
Yes I Am: The Ric Weiland Story will be available to stream online from May 16-30, using the screening link received upon registration. On Tuesday, May 23rd we will host a live virtual panel discussion about the film featuring the project’s director, Ric Weiland’s partner, and the actor who plays Ric Weiland in the film.
Dr. Daniela Recabarren, Aaron Bear, Mike Schaefer, and Gil Bar-Sela will discuss parallels between the early years of the AIDS epidemic and the current hostility toward the LGBTQ+ community today. Guided by moderator Dr. V Gil-Rivas, they’ll consider how advocacy and philanthropy present opportunities for improving well-being, where the two align, and what we can do to support people’s mental health journeys.
We would like to provide a content warning for this discussion. It may include themes and examples of topics such as mental health disorders, depression, suicide and suicidal behavior, and trauma. We encourage attendees to prioritize their well-being by taking time and space to process this content as needed throughout the conversation.
Meet the Speakers
Dr. V Gil-Rivas (Moderator)
V Gil-Rivas, PhD is a Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the chair of the LGBTQ+ Task Force of the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice. VGR’s work has focused on research and intervention efforts aimed at fostering the health and well-being of women, sexual and gender minorities, and marginalized and underserved populations. In particular, her program of research has focused on 1) the contribution of the social context to the adjustment of individuals and communities exposed to major negative life events and chronic adversity; and 2) the development, implementation, and evaluation of brief cognitive behavioral interventions that are culturally and contextually appropriate.
Daniela Recabarren, PhD is the Associate Director for Health Equity & Direct Care Services at Center for Integrated Care, UNCC. Her role focuses on assessing ways to provide students with equitable access to services, and ways to support the holistic well-being of the entire student community. Her particular interests include equity and social justice issues, multicultural psychology and outreach, Latinx identity, QTBIPOC identity, and healing in community.
Aaron Bear is a director and producer, known for Yes I Am: The Ric Weiland Story (2021), Finding Kim (2016), and Potato Dreams of America (2021). The award-winning feature-length documentary Finding Kim revealed his passion for beautifully rendered, deeply empathetic storytelling and is regarded as one of the truest tellings of a Transgender person’s life. Aaron values humor, honesty, authenticity, and experience. His loyalty to his craft, colleagues, subjects, and peers is at the core of his creative process as a filmmaker. He lives with his husband of 20 years, and a Siberian Husky named Zita.
Mike Schaefer is the surviving partner of Ric Weiland, early Microsoft software engineer and philanthropist. He is the survivor of Ric’s violent 2006 suicide, as well as the steward of Ric’s astoundingly thoughtful estate plan. While more than 60 organizations benefited from Ric’s donations during his life, the 20 organizations identified in Ric’s will have all stepped up to transformational change in the 16 years since his death. Mike is honored to be part of the “Yes I Am” documentary and the opportunity the film presents to tell the story of how someone whose life was haunted by chronic depression and despair could envision ways to impactfully support cultural change for generations to come.
Gil Bar-Sela is a graduate of the Circle in the Square Theater School in New York City. He worked as a stage and television actor in both New York and Tel-Aviv before turning his gaze toward the healing arts. A native of Israel, he has experienced the dynamics of political conflict first-hand, both as a civilian and a combatant. These experiences led him to earn certification as a Compassionate Listening Facilitator and study a variety of healing and non-violent communication modalities. He now co-leads the Compassionate Listening Project‘s annual delegations to Palestine and Israel.
A Certified Trainer with the Heart Math Institute, he is also the co-founder of the leadership development company Finding Human. He trains leaders and teams in the emotional intelligence and communication skills needed to create work cultures where everyone thrives.