Here in Virginia, LGBT students have little anti-bullying protections. Every attempt to enact meaningful protections die in the GOP controlled House of Delegates and school administrators are left free to giving lip service to banning bullying, yet the bullying goes on and on occasion LGBT students find suicide as their only perceived escape. Would that Coca-Cola would launch a anti-bullying campaign such as the one it has launched in South America with the help of Lance Black of Milk fame and a founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights which helped win marriage equality for all Americans. A piece in The Advocate looks at the Coca-Cola campaign that needs to be replicated far and wide. Here are highlights:
With marriage equality established across the nation, Oscar-winning activist Dustin Lance Black is, once again, taking to the screen to affect change. His upcoming ABC special, When We Rise, is an eight-hour exploration of the interconnectedness of activists from the LGBT, civil rights, women's rights, and peace movements,
Black recently directed a pro-equality commercial for Tylenol, featuring same-sex couples, which was well received in the United States. He's also channeling his energy south of the border, directing a series of three short anti-bullying films for Coca-Cola to be aired across Latin America. One, 'El SMS' (or 'The Text'), revolves around LGBT youth.
Black discussed the project. On the reaction:
On cynics doubting Coca-Cola's sincerity:"The campaign in general is doing quite well, but the response in the LGBT community to 'The Text' was remarkable. I heard from one of the heads at the ABC network about how much it moved her. I heard from Cleve Jones, one of the leaders of the LGBT movement, about how much it moved him. And these aren't people I sent it to. They found it, which I find remarkable, since it's in Portuguese on the Internet. For Coca-Cola to take a pro-diversity, pro-equality stance creates a lot of goodwill in the LGBT community. It's heartwarming for the LGBT community to see that a global brand would embrace this community because, let's be honest, there are places in the world that know about Coca-Cola where it is still a death sentence to be gay."
"Some of them are very critical of what the intent of the brand might have been. And I say, 'Yes, their intent was to win a market, and their intent was to sell their product.' My intent was to send the message that diversity is a good thing and LGBT people and their families deserve respect and love. Well, I'm not going to skip an opportunity to send a pro-equality message just because they're selling a product alongside it."