Sharon Stapel, the Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, shot me over an e-mail this afternoon about my criticism of their new PSA series "Bullying Is Violence." (video at the link) I gave her a call and invited her to respond in a separate post (so it didn't get buried in the comments).
While I criticized the PSA in my post, I made sure to praise AVP - and this is exactly why. Read Sharon's response and do as she suggests - provide feedback they can use with the campaign. AVP isn't an org that sticks their heads in the sand when someone criticizes their work; instead they dig deeper, ask questions, and use the feedback to improve.
First, thanks for bringing attention to the PSA and to the issue of violence and bullying. We appreciate your feedback and the important questions you raise in your response to the PSA.
With the PSA we want to spark a discussion about why people bully - and to make the clear connection that bullying is more than school yard taunting as some dismiss it to be. We know bullying is violence, it comes in many forms and affects people of all ages. We know that people are bullied because of who the bully perceives them to be - whether or not they identify as LGBTQ. We want people to ask themselves if and why they judge people for looking or acting "differently" and we think that this PSA allows us to start that conversation. We think this message is also represented in the rest of the Iamantiviolence.org page - where we encourage people to take action, find support and get involved with AVP to end this violence.
We feel very fortunate to have been able to work with Daniel, Ronnie and Claire, who are good friends of AVP. The actors themselves are a mix of LGBTQ people and allies who want to end this violence. We want people who see this PSA - both LGBTQ people and our allies - to see themselves as a part of the solution to bullying and violence.
We are glad that you raised these issues because we want this campaign to be as effective as possible. We can use your feedback, and that of your readers, to increase the effectiveness of our on-the-ground organizing. We would love to hear from your readers what else they want to know about to get involved in ending violence - and we will integrate as much of the feedback in our day-to-day work as we can. We encourage all forms of conversation about this issue and any feedback that you or your readers have for us. They can find out more about us, and join our email list for more information, at avp.org. Thanks, as always, for supporting AVP's work.
If you've complained before about an LGBT not-for-profit not paying attention, here's your chance to make a difference and be listened to with respect and admiration for your own experiences.