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Exclamation points everywhere because we surely did write a wonderful book.
Several years ago I met Mark Hovarth through The Los Angeles Social Media Club. At the time he was a guy with a camera who was struggling to make ends meet (I am not convinced that isn’t still the case). Mark has created volumes of video interviews of the homeless, both in Los Angeles and throughout the country.
When I met Mark, if you’d have asked me what value those videos have, I’d have shrugged my shoulders and said, “dunnno”. I only knew that they elicited an emotional response from the people around me. It is only in hindsight that I can see the enormous value of that emotional response (my chapter in the book addresses this).
Fast forward a few years and, with the help of a grant, Invisible People TV has made people visible again. There has been one success story after another, Mark has traveled all over the nation affecting positive change, and empowering our most at risk citizens.
The story of Mark Hovarth’s work and Invisible People TV isn’t just about homelessness. It’s about marginalized citizens, those who are a check away from losing their homes, perhaps that is you. Open Our Eyes isn’t just about Mark, it’s about how we are all touched, and how we behave.
It’s about giving, and triumph, and using social media for good. It’s about changing our world. It was an honor to be asked to contribute.
I don’t have a name for what is happening here online, I do know that strangers are coming together to form friendships and within the bounds of these friendships, actions are taken. I met Melissa once in Chicago and it was like finding your friend you’d been searching the world for. I didn’t need more of her than just those moments, nor she I. Melissa was recently in town for a taping of Dr. Phil so the kids and I met her for a quick dinner at Hollywood and Highland.
In keeping with it being Hollywood, I met Bob Saget on my way to Melissa and later we were both greeted by a delinquent smoking a joint in the hallway of the Raddsion. I had the children avert their eyes, “clove cigarettes” we explained to them.
We had dinner and took a brief walk on Hollywood Boulevard. “Oh my gosh Melissa, I know her.” I grasped Melissa’s forearm. She looked at me and I continued, “Melissa, I know her from Mark Hovarth’s videos. I know about her dog and her catheter, and her need to see her family. I know her three wishes.”
Standing on Hollywood Boulvard, buying my children toys they don’t need (and may or may not want) I grabbed my friend’s sleeve and whisper again, “I know her.”
But I don’t do anything, because just as quickly as she appeared, she disappears again. My middle class guilt has me gasping for breath.