I think the internet is great. It's a great way of connecting with people in your community and across the globe. It's big enough that there is space enough for every niche interest imaginable. I also believe that besides connecting with other people, the internet can assist minority groups in advocating for themselves, as happened with protesting the Ransom Notes campaign.
But I also think that the internet has its limitations in effecting change in socieatal attitudes and laws. My personal feeling is that the internet is one tool in a big handbag of ways that can be utilized to change opinions. Should we utilize the internet? You betcha. But I also think that we should also pursue other avenues whenever they present themselves, as well as combine the internet with other methods to gain greater influence than either method might obtain by itself.
The other day I blogged how Ange Hemmer is working to change practices in Missouri schools. She has used the internet to gather parent testimony, but she has also spent countless hours on the phone and in person talking to legislators, state advocates, and reporters, generating several stories in the media that have probably gotten at least some people to reconsider their inner feelings regarding those who are different in society. She's even starting to get some results.
Today I'd like to highlight a young autistic filmmaker named Drew, who's film, "Treasure Diversity" is being screened at the Beloit International Film Festival.
Though the film is only 10 minutes long, the film festivals executive director, Rob Beaudoin said "There is a magic to this film that caused me to think differently about people and about life." After viewing the trailer, I am sure that his reaction is not unique. In addition to being screened at BIFF, Drew's film has been screened not only at other US film festivals, but also festivals as far away as Australia. Not too shabby for a 12 year old kid. His 10 minute movie has the potential to reach thousands, if not tens of thousands of people.
I think we all need to look for opportunities to make a difference in other people's attitudes. We might not be filmmakers, or be able to make the time to travel to our state capitals to lobby legislators, but we all can take the time to write our lawmakers and let them know how we feel, as well as educate people we come into contact with every day. Even if it's not 10 minutes, even 1 or 2 minutes add up over time.
Me- Joe, husband of a great wife, and dad to two great kids, who were both adopted at birth.
Liz- My ever understanding wife, who manages to wear many hats (mom, advocate, therapist, teacher) for our kids.
Buddy Boy- Born in 2000. Funny, intelligent, inventive, and autistic. Loves machines.
Sweet Pea- Born in 2002. Typical little sister. Competitive, outgoing, and smart. Loves anything pink.