Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter have dramatically increased our ability to communicate with one another. Whether it’s helping a city survive a snow storm, or sustaining a political revolution, these networks have helped us share and amplify important stories.
But accessing these networks requires equipment and service plans that put them out of reach for those that need them most.
Underheard in New York was created as a thirty day initiative to give the homeless population of NYC a voice.
“Every day we avoid contact with the homeless; we ignore them, we don’t see them, we look past them,” say the program’s creators on the Underheard website. “Whether it’s due to a lack of trust or discomfort or even older stereotypes, it’s easier to write them off as a group rather than look at them as individuals.”
Underheard in New York is an initiative to help homeless residents in New York City speak for themselves. Four homeless men, Danny, Derrick, Albert and Carlos, were each given their own mobile phone, a month of unlimited text messaging and a Twitter account. They found their voices by texting their thoughts, feelings and actions to Twitter.
The results for these men and the people who interacted with them via Twitter have been amazing.
With the remaining budget, Underheard’s founders put another month of internet access on each man’s phone so they could continue sharing their stories.
If you’re interested in ways you can support the men, help continue the project, or start something similar in your own community, learn more here.
Image Credit: Underheard In New York
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