“Communication is a human right.”
– April Smith, May 13, 2011
April’s speech focused on the use of social media for social good. She uses films as a way to tell her story as well as the story of many citizens in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side (DTES). She told of many very human stories of how social media has inspired people in the DTES to overcome huge obstacles. April teared up a bit when she told of a story of a man who decided not to take his own life after April asked him to pose for a photo.
This is not the first time I’ve heard from April (She was a panelist in one of the NetTuesday Meetups that I’ve attended). I thought that her speech this time was more personal. I like that she drew out very specific human stories in order to illustrate her points. The issues of the DTES are very complex, of course, but I think that April has made a good enough argument regarding the power of social media and storytelling in giving voice to the minority.
The very emotional speech also included some clips from With Glowing Hearts, a documentary about the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. The film features April’s story as a storyline.
This is the first of a few blog posts I’m planning regarding my experience at this year’s Northern Voice. More blog posts soon! In the meantime, if you were at the conference and had some thoughts about April’s keynote speech, feel free to share them with me in the comments section.
Photo: Gus F.