By Carey Reed Zamarriego
(una versión en español está abajo)
One of the most celebrated films at the 2011 Oscars was The King’s Speech, taking home statues for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Film. The most thunderous applause, however, came for the message of the film: no matter the obstacle (even a stubborn stammer), a voice is meant to be heard!
In addition to the Hollywood types, a trio, made up of Rosemary, Willy and Robert deserve a standing “O” for developing an innovative/social-network centered way to give a voice to a hushed population: the homeless. Their initiative, Underheard in NYC, came about while they were participating in a 10-week internship at the Barn. A creativeship that “explores new solutions to new (and old) problems by getting smart folks together, breaking them into groups and have them collaborate,” the Barn is run by BBH (British advertising agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty). The Underheard creators were given a two-part mission at the Barn: “do something good” and “do it famously.” With that in mind, Rosemary, Willy and Robert decided to provide four homeless people with their own mobile phones, a month of unlimited text messaging and Twitter accounts.
“Every day we avoid contact with the homeless; we ignore them, we don’t see them, we look past them,” the group states on their site. So, UIN’s goal was to have the four men (Danny, Derrick, Albert and Carlos) integrate into the global community they’ve been shunned from via a social media presence. With the new technology, the men ”…found their voices by texting their thoughts, feelings and actions on Twitter.”
What’s more, one of the men, Danny, found the family he was separated from years ago thanks to his participation in Underheard and his Twitter presence. Different from Mark Horvath’s Invisible People/ We are Visible, which uses film to tell the stories of the ignored homeless people, Underheard has the homeless men connected 24-7.
If you’d like to take the Underheard in NYC trio’s lead as inspiration and want to be a part of a program that searches for unique solutions to difficult situations, BBH will be looking for participants for the summer Barn session in March (the program pays $350/week and a round-trip ticket to NYC to Barn’ers to boot).
(la versión en español)
The King’s Speech fue una de las peliculas mas celebradas este anyo en los Oscars. La peli gano premios para mejor director, mejor actor y mejor pelicula del anyo. Pero mas celebrado que la pelicula fue su mensaje que da igual si hay obstaculos: haz que tu voz se escuche!