Working at SNP means being exposed, daily, to the stories and struggles of our communities and clients. On a regular basis, we hear them explain how they have fallen into hardship, poverty, and homelessness. We listen to all of their experiences—from low wages and high rents, to issues of domestic violence or disabilities, to job losses or a death in the family. We also see, firsthand, how social, economic, racial, and other external factors that are outside of their control, can impact (and even determine) their ability to attain long-term economic and social stability.
Most of our clients and community partners, however, lack the proper training, tools, resources, and platforms to effectively speak their truth. With the increased power of new media tools and social media, SNP sees an opportunity to ensure that their stories, and those of other marginalized peoples, are disseminated through non-traditional media outlets. We believe that they have a right, and a responsibility, to inform and drive the conversation around issues that impact them, with their own words and stories. SNP’s goal then, is to produce digital media campaigns that further our advocacy goals, while amplifying the voices of our clients and community partners.
Stories of Resilience
SNP unveiled the first project in our new media advocacy initiative with the launching of the Stories of Resilience campaign in June 2018. Stories of Resilience is a web-based campaign featuring a collection of powerful videos and photo essays that showcase the stories of clients, Safety Net Activists, and members of our community. Its launch on various social media platforms was supported by dozens of community partners and individuals committed to fighting against cuts to the SNAP program.
The Safety Net Project is now in the process of creating its second campaign, Accessing Counsel, in partnership with Northeastern University’s Graduate School of Journalism, NULawLab, Justfix.nyc, and the Right to Counsel Coalition. Our goal is to create an online, multimedia campaign that targets low-income New Yorkers who are being sued in housing court. Many eligible tenants are not taking advantage of their newly issued right to an attorney under New York City’s Universal Access to Counsel Law: we seek to inform them about the benefits of doing so.
The success of Stories of Resilience inspired SNP to extend and multiply storytelling opportunities. Last April, SNP decided to apply for a podcasting competition hosted by Squarespace and Gimlet Media entitled Casting Call. We created a short trailer and a concept proposal for a podcast entitled Uprooted. Uprooted ended up being one of 15 applicants from a pool of 4000 original submissions to interview for a final slot in a competition to be Gimlet’s newest podcast. While our submission was not ultimately selected, the process inspired us to produce the show ourselves.
Listen to Our Trailer
Uprooted will feature the voices and stories of individuals whose lives were forever altered by events or factors outside their control—from the car that blindsided them, the lover that left, the storm that engulfed everything they owned, or the mental health diagnosis that changed everything. Our podcast will bridge the experiences of trauma and loss, of courage and rebirth, that displacement breeds in all corners of the world. Though the severity and impact of unforeseen events on the individual depend on myriad factors, the experience of being “uprooted” is universal—and we believe it’s time now, more than ever, to lift up the voices of those who need us most.