How can we change poverty?

Screenshot 2017-04-20 20.39.04This is literally my submission for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I called it the “ALS Boiling Water Challenge,” uploaded it to Facebook, and proceeded to get a barrage of texts from friends laughing at me and asking me if I was ok (usually in that order.)

Thankfully, I had the foresight to know that hot water = bad and off camera, switched out the boiling water for an identical pot of cold water.

However, you don’t see that. To the viewer, it looks like I’m some idiot. That was kind of the point. This was a satirical approach to something that I thought was a little silly. Now, I’m not saying that fundraising for disease research is, … silly, nor am I commenting on the importance of it. What was interesting to me was how dumping a bucket of cold water on yourself blew up on the internet.

I mean honestly, what a random activity.

Apparently, this random activity was incredibly beneficial for the study and fight against ALS, and it ushered in a new style of activism where you can actually make a difference from your kitchen, as I literally did.

This started to make me think about income inequality, because unlike the medical field there often aren’t as many breakthroughs when it comes to issues such as chronic homelessness, or the income-inequality gap. And there certainly isn’t as much media attention on the subject either.

How often do you see a drug commercial, or an ad for a X treatment center on the TV? Compare that to the amount of advertisements you see on homeless people, or addressing systemic problems with our gender pay-structure. Much like disease, income inequality is quite literally an epidemic in our country.

So the question then becomes: What is there in the way of activism for issues such as homelessness or inequality?

As it turns out, quite a bit. So, if the information is there, why than is this still a problem? It seems like there is also a rather large communication problem here. I didn’t set out to make a video about ALS, but three of my friends tagged me in their videos. However, I had to seek out all the information in this blog. And the difference between someone being presented information, and someone seeking out information is the difference between something and nothing happening.

Screenshot 2017-04-20 20.42.45Okay, so now I’ve preached to you about all this – but what’s my big solution?

Well, I don’t really have one. Much like the Ice Bucket Challenge, viral things on the internet are sort of, random. They come, have their 15 seconds of fame, and than fade into the internet as the zeitgeist moves onto the next, hipper thing.

So why can’t activism about inequality be the next big thing? Go out, get your cameras, and make a difference!

By Andrew Wasserman

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