#SXSL: Lit with Idealism

Earlier this year, President Obama traveled to South by Southwest® for a conversation on civic engagement. In Austin, he called on creative thinkers and entrepreneurs from across the country to help tackle our toughest challenges.

Today, POTUS is celebrating that spirit of innovation at South by South Lawn, a White House festival of ideas, art, and action.

The promise?  At SXSL, we’ll call on every American to roll up their sleeves and discover their own way to make a positive difference in our country. And it’s an opportunity to celebrate the inspiring work so many Americans have already accomplished.

Take a look at the feed below and join the conversation using #SXSL:

Ad Love: Apple’s The Human Family

Building on Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” the company recently released,”The Human Family,” a new spot with Maya Angelou narrating.

The structure is simple, and reminiscent of a wedding montage against a white background, photos and videos of different faces and families—of all colors, sizes, ages and orientations—flicker by, with the credit of each iPhone photographer underneath.

The spot debut last Friday during the Opening Ceremonies of the Rio Olympics. It’s already gone live across Apple’s social media channels and on the website, where a full subsite is devoted to the “Shot on iPhone” campaign.

I *heart*:

Harry Belafonte’s Many Rivers to Cross

Harry Belafonte will launch a racial and social justice festival in October with the inaugural event featuring appearances and performances from actors Chris Rock and Jesse Williams and musicians John Legend and Common.

Belafonte recently announced that Sankofa.org , his social justice organization, will put on the “Many Rivers to Cross” music and arts festival on Oct. 1-2 in the Atlanta suburb of Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia. The event will promote advocacy and awareness around urgent human rights issues.

Carlos Santana, Dave Matthews, Public Enemy, Danny Glover, Dr. Cornel West, Michelle Alexander and Estelle will also participate in the two-day festival. More performers and entertainers will be announced at a later date.

Tickets for the festival go on sale July 29. Belafonte founded Sankofa.org in 2013.

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Donate Organs via Apple’s iOS 10

Apple is trying to make organ donation a simpler process.

Recently Apple announced that its updated Health app, which will be available as part of iOS 10, will offer a new option that lets people sign up to be organ donors. The app’s Medical ID feature, which already keeps track of your medical and health information, will include the ability to register as a donor of organs, eyes and tissues. Registrations sent in through your iPhone or iPad will be forwarded to the National Donate Life Registry, an organization managed by Donate Life America.

Check it out:

 

Woke Mondays: Jesse Williams is Crown.

Actor and Activist Jesse Williams woke us all during the 2016 BET Awards.

He was honored with BET’s Humanitarian Award for his activism last night. In October 2014, he joined protests in Ferguson, Missouri to protest the shooting of Michael Brown. He was also an actor and executive producer of Stay Woke, a documentary about the movement that premiered in May. He has written extensively on Black Lives Matter and met with President Obama earlier this year to discuss his humanitarian work.

Last night, he used one of the most watched awards shows to further drop jewels on an audience which may have never heard of his political/organizing work. Further, he did it in such a relate-able way, nearly everyone was speaking on it then and will for a very long time. One of my favorite quotes:

This award is also for the black women in particular who have spent their lives nurturing everyone before themselves — we can and will do better for you.”

But wait. There’s so much more. Check it out via Billboard.com:

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Virtual Reality Gives an Inside Look at Causes

Oh my goodness. Can I tell you how excited I am about what I just stumbled upon? It wasn’t the Samsung Experience store here in NY which, no doubt, is pretty amazing.

It was an AdWeek feature on how Virtual Reality technology is being used to support fundraising efforts. This is huge. I know from experience that NPOs struggle with getting people to truly understand beyond the use of traditional images. Hence why so many of them hopped on the bandwagon when infographics became popular.

VR films go further – they take people INTO a cause. Check out this one from the organization, Pencils of Promise.

Oh, and get the full scoop on how VR is being used to support NPOs from AdWeek.

 

Ad Love: Sign Their Yearbook

Right now, young people are busy with all of the fun and festive formalities that come with the close of a school year: class rings, proms and signing yearbooks. Some may never get to experience any of these things as their lives were taken too soon at the hands of gun violence. That’s the focus of, “Sign Their Yearbook,” a sobering initiative from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

The online “yearbook,” which went live last week, also serves as a petition; those signing signal their support for universal criminal background checks for people attempting to purchase firearms. (In 38 states, it is legal to buy guns without submitting to such scrutiny.) After 30 days, the petition—in the form of a handsomely printed physical yearbook—will be submitted to the U.S. Senate, where measures to tighten gun laws have previously failed.

This campaign is brilliant. Check out the ad, which gave me chills and be sure to sign the book: