Technology has been progressing at breakneck speed the past decade – it’s hard to imagine that in 2001, the smartphone was just a new innovation, with Palm (remember them?) leading the way. One organization in Los Angeles is taking full advantage of the incredible momentum of technology, and transferring it into social change.
imMEDIAte Justice is an organization centered around East and South Los Angeles advancing reproductive justice education for young women, and was recently the recipient of a $25,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project, which awards money to organizations bringing progress to their communities. The now ubiquitous smartphone has become a platform for the group’s upcoming Solidarity App, which will act as a support network for underrepresented and profiled young people from immigrant, brown, and queer communities. The app isn’t just for victims or at-risk youth – trained counselors can use the app to volunteer time on the app’s hotline network directly through their smartphones.
The Solidarity App is an attempt to bridge the gap left by the deep cuts made in California recently to public health services, like domestic abuse shelters and domestic and sexual violence crisis hotlines. For marginalized communities who have been historically harassed by the police or have not received sensitive care to their needs by other government services, the app’s network provides a safety net of social justice oriented volunteers who understand the problems and alternatives to the prison industrial complex for a victim. The Solidarity App will be in development for all major smartphone operating systems.
The organization’s broader aim is to use filmmaking to educate queer girls of color about reproductive and sexual health justice. ImMEDIAte Justice runs a summer program that mentors youth from East and South Los Angeles about media literacy, film production, and sexual health. More importantly, it channels the youth’s creativity into documentary-style movies about their personal experiences growing up and passing what they know on to their peers. In the midst of those massive spending cuts, it’s a way to use the raw material of creative talent teeming in Los Angeles to pick up the slack.
This weekend, the finished products will be put on display for the public. Thirty second stop-motion animations, all written and directed by youth in the program, will be shown at the imMEDIAte Justice 2011 Film Premiere this Saturday, September 10th from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in Los Angeles. If you happen to be in the greater Los Angeles area, you might want to take a peek at some of the young visionaries changing your world.