Dear friends of Inside/Out,
Immediately following the fire that engulfed our Inside/Out home earlier this year, so many of you stepped forward to help. We were inspired and humbled to see our community standing in solidarity with our incredible youth, and I can’t begin to thank you enough for your generosity of time, talent, and treasure.
Because of you, Inside/Out Youth Services:
- Raised more than $90,000 at our recent Ally Up! Breakfast event, ensuring our fiscal health and ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances;
- Has a temporary home at the Tim Gill Center for Public Media, allowing the 512 young people we serve annually to be themselves in a safe environment;
- Continues to offer youth programs three times a week with the help of more than 27 dedicated volunteers;
- Has secured a safe space for drop-ins once a week Friday between 11am – 5pm at 322 N. Tejon Street, Suite 225 to enable us to provide services to youth in crisis; and
- Will continue to convene the Pikes Peak Safe @ School Coalition 3rd Tuesday of the month at 3480 Centennial Blvd. and present trainings to local educators on how to protect LGBTQ students in their classrooms and beyond.
But of course, Inside/Out still has many needs, and I write today to invite you to help us move forward into a brighter future for the young people we serve. Five specific needs we have are:
- We are assembling a “Street Team” to help us identify, visit and select a permanent home. If you have leads on spaces, practical knowledge of the local real estate market or just the time and interest to help us research and find the perfect space, please contact [email protected]
- Board games, puzzles, activities and snacks for our youth programs. Clean out that game closet or your pantry, because we need items to keep our young people fulfilled, intellectually and nutritionally. If you have items you wish to donate, or you have questions about which items we need most, contact [email protected].
- We are currently recruiting visionary leaders for our board of directors. Through governance work, board members have the opportunity to make a significant impact on the future of Inside/Out. Interested? Know someone we should talk to? Email [email protected] for more details.
- Inside/Out will need volunteer help over the next few months with data entry, mailings, errands, and more. If you can donate a few hours on an as-needed basis to support our ongoing operations, please let [email protected] know.
- If you were unable to attend the Ally Up! event and wish to make a financial contribution to Inside/Out, we invite you to do so at: http://www.insideoutys.org/donate/
Thank you again for all you’ve made possible for our incredible and resilient Inside/Out youth. Your generosity gives me – and the young people we serve – confidence that tomorrow will be brighter than we can imagine.
Amy, Board Chair at Inside/Out
Tell us in 300 words or fewer why your nominee should be recognized. Please provide specific information about your nominee’s roles in the community – both officially and informally – and how you believe your nominee has made a lasting impact on the community. Please include your name and daytime phone number with your nomination. Email nominations to [email protected] by November 1.
The event will take place in February 2014 at Stargazers Theater.
Previous recipients include: Mary Lou Makepeace, Dr. Jim White, Pam Jones and Juliet Draper (shared award), Lorne Kramer, Richard Skorman, John Weiss, Mary Ellen McNally, Rosemary Harris Lytle, Sharon Berthrong, and Sharon Friedman.
By Anya Arndt
It seems like everyone has been writing about “Millennials” lately. Half the blogosphere is blaming Millennials and our “selfish nature” for the woes of the world and the inevitable decline of the United States, while the other half is desperately defending the technology generation as full of innovative and big-thinking people who are just struggling to enter the adult world in today’s economy.1 Whether you like Millennials or not, however, they (and their uniquely technological worldview) have made a huge impact on society so far and as they grow into fully active and engaged citizens, they will continue to do so.
I was born in the year that the Internet as we know it (the World Wide Web) was released, 1991. Of course, the Interwebs (my generation’s favorite pet name for this network phenomenon), has a long history prior to 1991 and has expanded substantially since then. The Internet and I are good buddies though, after all, we grew up together. I began to learn about the wonders of the Internet in elementary school; in fact, I’ve never written a research paper without the help of that vast bank of electronic knowledge.2 I do everything with the help of the Internet, from making plans with my friends to buying clothes to turning in my senior thesis. But, with such vast capabilities, what does the Internet mean for those fighting for a cause? For nonprofits and organizations that have traditionally organized using physical bodies out on the streets and in the offices of elected officials, it has become a lot harder to engage younger generations who are more tied up in online movements.
With the advent of the Internet, a new phenomenon of “clicktivism” has emerged. Often relegated to another subset of “slacktivism,” clicktivism is activism online. It ranges from liking an organization’s Facebook page, to signing an online petition or donating online. Clicktivism does not require one to leave his or her bed, but it still gives the clicktivist a feeling that he or she has made a difference in the world and promoted a noble cause. Take a moment and google “clicktivism;” the first hit you get is “clicktivism.org.” Micah White, creator of clicktivism.org says “Clicktivism is the pollution of activism with the logic of consumerism . . . Clicktivism neglects the vital, immeasurable inner events and personal epiphanies that great social ruptures are actually made of. The history of revolutions attests that upheaval is always improbable, unpredictable and risky. A few banal pronouncements about ‘democracy in action’ coupled with an online petition will not usher in social transformation.”
So what will usher in social transformation as the technology generation enters adulthood? And didn’t we just see Egypt’s January 25th Twitter Revolution successfully oust President Hosni Mubarak in 2011?3 Clearly, the internet can be quite a catalyst in sparking change, but is it enough in the U.S.? Undeniably, many American Millennials seem pretty content to say that political awareness consists of sitting on their comfy sofas and beds reposting HuffPost articles on their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds while watching Netflix. But we are also the generation that has been named most socially progressive thus far, and studies have shown that we have been much stronger supporters of causes that promote human rights and equality than our predecessors.4 Watching the news in the past year alone will tell you that Millennials can be convinced to hop out of their beds and into the streets to promote these progressive values.5 Maybe this dichotomy of “clicktivism” versus “real activism” is a false one.
And yet, somewhere, there is a disconnect. Why do nonprofits report having such a hard time engaging younger donors and volunteers? It looks like a balance needs to be found. Millennials want to support causes, we want to see a more accepting, a more inclusive, a more equal, America. So why aren’t we at non-profit fundraising events, where are we when there’s a city council meeting happening, how come we aren’t found volunteering for causes that make our communities better places?6 Is our inclination toward clicktivism actually going to prevent us from pushing the country toward positive change in terms of human rights like Micah White predicts?
Personally, I don’t think that Micah White is right, but he could be if we fail to speak to the Millennial generation in their own language. We live in a society where information is now largely transferred via the Internet and the Millennial generation has never experienced otherwise. As a Colorado College student, I rarely picked up The Independent and I don’t think I ever saw a physical copy of The Gazette floating around campus. I was not unaware of what was going on in the world around me, however. In fact, I followed politics very closely, I just liked to get my information in different ways than what has been the norm for many years (I still do). I drink my morning coffee while scrolling through my Twitter feed instead of reading the newspaper at my kitchen table.7 This does not mean that I don’t want to stand up alongside my neighbors for a cause that I believe in, however. It’s just that when something awesome was going on in the Colorado Springs community, I never knew about it, because it was not publicized in a way that crossed my radar.
The point is, the Millennial generation goes about finding their news and expressing their political and social beliefs in ways that many established organizations are unfamiliar with. As a college student, I often lamented this: Why is there no Jezebel equivalent in Colorado Springs or no Buzzfeed for social causes? These are the types of sources that get my generation excited. We need to begin to develop new mediums for communication to the socially conscious Millennials out there, or else they’re unlikely to see the message and join in the cause. As a recent college graduate and nonprofit employee, I feel eager (though slightly unqualified) to begin to brainstorm ways to bridge this gap between nonprofits and Millennials.8
I can’t offer some great, fail-proof solution to reaching Millennials, but I can offer a reminder that as times change, so must our strategies. Millennials have plenty to offer to good causes (namely time, passion, and the ability to spread information on their favorite causes to massive networks of their peers)9, so let’s find new ways to tap into that. Let’s capitalize on clicktivism to spur in-person activism, let’s be more direct in engaging this technologically-inclined generation when spreading our information. Millennials are quick to get behind those who speak with true passion, what we need to do, then, is direct our messages to their ears.
For anyone interested in a little more information on what these strange “Millennial” people like and how they think, here are a few links and articles to check out from some of my favorite sites:
Jezebel and Buzzfeed are my top two, hands down. If you like your news with a splash of snarky angst and a heaping tablespoon of feminist agenda, then Jezebel is your cup of tea. If you like your news in list form or you like anything in list form (Millennials love lists), then Buzzfeed is your go-to. If you are interested in writing your own trend piece on Millennials, because it is all the rage to do that nowadays, I first recommend reading this lovely PSA from Kelly Williams Brown, author of the blog Adulting, and a book based off it. Are you wondering just what it is that makes someone born between the years 1982 and 2000 a Millennial? Take this quiz by the Pew Forum entitled “How Millennial Are You?” And finally, if you still haven’t read the Huffington Post article that I have already linked to twice, here it is again (you’re welcome, *winking smiley face*).
Oh yeah, and this, because Millennials also love cats, especially cats on the Interwebs.
Endnotes (aka Tangents)
- Remember that Time article, “The Me Me Me Generation?” Why yes, I was offended by that, and here are a few reasons why. Then there was Susan Zarkin’s TruthDig article: I have absolutely no idea where she gets the idea that Reagan is our number one hero, I mean, really? Reagan! Our hero is Stephen Colbert, puh-lease. (She also calls my generation “ahistorical,” which doesn’t even make sense: what about my generation is “less historical” than any other? I dare her to prove to me that Millennials are less interested in history than the people leading the country right now: has the U.S. government learned nothing from decades of failed attempts at intervening in the internal affairs of other countries? Yet we still manage to justify meddling in the Middle East and ignoring the rest of the Western world when they tell us to get out! *end rant*) Oh, don’t let me forget, the list of things my generation has allegedly ruined (according to media and big business) for our country. [↩]
- Funny side note: In fourth grade, I had to write a research paper on glue. I found a website that told me Jamie Farr invented glue in 1949, and I believed it. To be fair, this was at a time when even legitimate web sources still had rather unsophisticated layouts, so to a fourth grader, anything on the Internet could appear to be fact, since every website looked about the same legitimacy-wise. (This was also when MLA required a URL in all citations, so fortunately my teacher was able to look up the website I had found, and determine that I had been duped and could not be blamed for thinking that Jamie Farr invented glue in 1949. She let me try again). [↩]
- The exact roll social media played in any of the Arab Spring uprisings is still a topic of great debate amongst scholars. Some argue that the Arab Spring would not have happened without social media, others insist that it merely would have happened differently. [↩]
- For statistics that support this claim, view the Pew Research Report and the Center for American Progress Report. [↩]
- The streets were overflowing with Millennial activists before and after the Supreme Court’s repeal of DOMA and after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case was released, to give a few examples. Additionally, we have this marvelous HuffPost article, entitled “5 Things That Prove young People Aren’t Just Slacktivists.” [↩]
- Probably because there’s never free food, but I digress… [↩]
- Although I really enjoy newspaper crossword puzzles and I actually prefer reading off of printed paper over the headache-inducing computer screen, I will honestly never pay $13 a month for a subscription when I can get all that for free, in my bed, on my iPhone. [↩]
- I am currently in the process of creating a new blog on CP’s website that will hopefully communicate our message in a more “Millennial-friendly” format. Basically, I get to post things that are a bit sassier and flashier than I would be able to post in more “traditional” news pieces and blog posts. [↩]
- I linked to this HuffPost article already, but you really should read it, as it elaborates more eloquently than I can on the capabilities of Millennials in nonprofit and cause-oriented work. [↩]
We need your help in Get-Out-the-Vote efforts for the upcoming Senate District 11 Recall Election. GOTV efforts are particularly important, because this election is unlike any other past elections. We want to make sure all voters are well-informed about the recall election process and that they get the opportunity to vote. That’s why we’re asking you to join Citizens Project & the Pikes Peak Equality Coalition for our Get-Out-The-Vote postcard writing night!
Write to get out the vote: Join neighbors and friends as we write personal notes to remind people to fill out their ballots!
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Time: 5:30 pm
Location: Women’s Resource Agency, Citadel Mall
***NOTE: To ensure that voters get the best and most accurate information, the date of this event has been changed following an unprecedented court ruling allowing additional time for potential candidates to gather signatures for the recall ballot.
Join us on July 21 to march in solidarity with the PrideFest Parade! This is a great opportunity to connect with other Citizens Project supporters and engage with the community.
The parade will begin at 11 am, and we would like to have everyone meet up at 10:30 beforehand. We’ll have Citizens Project banners to carry, but feel free to bring anything else or wear fun flair to show your Pride!
Parade staging and Start: Cimarron & South Tejon. Parade Participants need to enter Tejon from Cimarron only
Parade Route: From Cimarron, Head north on S Tejon St toward E Costilla St. Turn left onto E Colorado Ave. Turn left onto Cimino Drive on the bridge directly into America The Beautiful Park
Citizens Project is staged at Green 4.
We are delighted to invite you to a volunteer open house at our office. Meet other supporters, hear about opportunities to get involved, and see where much of our work takes place! Please save the date and plan to join us!
5:00 until 6:30 pm
Citizens Project office at
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
If you’re interested in volunteering, but are unavailable to attend the open house, please email Kristy Milligan or call the office at (719) 520-9899.
It’s not too late to join Citizens Project at the 8th annual Creating Community Breakfast! This fun and free fundraising breakfast will feature speakers, musical entertainment and a few surprises.
Learn more about the work Citizens Project is doing in the Pikes Peak region to promote equal rights, diversity, religious freedom through separation of church and state and civic engagement, and learn how you can help! RSVP today!
Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy
by Robert W. McChesney
Summary by Ellen Slavitz
Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo. We believe they exist to make our lives more convenient, more interesting, more fun. According to Robert W. McChesney, these Internet marvels are the products of carefully designed operations that enable a small number of corporations to earn huge profits, while providing the public with less and less value, service, and information essential in a democratic society.
McChesney, a media activist and professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is the author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy and dozens of other publications in which he describes how the growing concentration of media ownership has decreased variety, competition, public interest, access and content quality. McChesney is also co-founder of Free Press, a media activist organization based in Washington DC that “advocates for universal and affordable Internet access, diverse media ownership, vibrant public media and quality journalism” (Freepress.net).
In his latest book, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy, McChesney meticulously documents how the Internet went from a non-commercial, seemingly utopian and democratic technology to its current mega-profit maker dominated by a small number of major players. He applies theories of political economy, “an understanding of capitalism and its relationship to democracy” (p. 13) to the evolution and current state of internet ownership and control. Continue reading
To have a truly ‘Business Friendly’ community is ensuring that our community is viewed as a truly inclusive and accepting community for all regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation; often, this is not the view many around the country hold of Colorado Springs. Perhaps we can ‘work this issue’ right here!
If you want to join in and wear your ‘business friendly’ attitude on your shirt or suit and civic affairs, business meetings and as you travel, we will make available at, no charge, camera-ready artwork so your group members can have their own custom name badge. If your group does not have badge printing capability, we can provide you with the name of the shop who produces these for our employees and you can just order direct. You can email Donna at: project.unity (at) ymail.com