Sunday, February 22, 2009

Making a Difference, 10 minutes at a Time

photo credit-Half Chinese
creative commons license

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.


Ange said...

This is WAY stepping out of my comfort zone...but if I've learned anything, I've learned my kids are worth it. But it does take its toll and I think your 10 minutes theory is a great idea. Tomorrow I am calling Rupp just to let him know my thoughts and to see if he wants to meet with me. When I met with administrators a year ago one said "yes, I think there should be regulations, but good luck with that at the capitol." More like persistence and passion. And 10 minutes here and there.

Ange said...

Daisy said...

Small amounts of time in quality increments can indeed make a difference. Blogging, in its own way, helps spread the word. Thanks for these two posts!

Club 166 said...

Blogging does help.

But thanks for reminding me to spend the time. I just finished writing my state legislator regarding the bill Ange talks about on her website.


Maddy said...

I do think these 'little things' can make a difference.

I heard on Womans Hour [BBC] this week that a woman started a facebook campaign to lobby the powers that be to not allow men to be employed in lingerie shops in the middle east where the women wear traditional dress as it's too embarrassing for them to really use the shops. She seems to be getting some positive results too,.....we'll see.
p.s. any chance the film will b on U-tube or somewhere that other people can view?

Chun Wong said...

I agree, the internet is great at spreading the message and blogs like your are great, but it's no excuse for avoiding other avenues of spreading the word.

That film sounds great, I hope I get chance to see it sometime.