Because we can

Five years ago, I met photographer Tony Deifell in Chicago at a face to face gathering of an online community we both belonged to. Tony challenged participants with a simple question: Why Do You Do What You Do? Today the amazing WDYDWYD project continues to provoke thoughtful responses through artistic expression from around the world, and my own answer continues to be the same: I see that I can, so I must.

At that same conference, I also met a dynamic young woman named Theresa Williamson, who works in Brazil to help local communities in Rio identify and share solutions that work, to improve lives in that city's infamous Flavelas (squatter communities). I don't claim to know the deeper personal reasons why Theresa does what she does, but she does it tirelessly, and with obvious passion. Right now she and her friends at Catalytic Communities need just a tiny bit of help to do something really important. I see that I can ask you to help, so I must...

In the lead up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, some of the city’s most peaceful communities are at risk. Some communities will be razed. Others will be invaded by police. And yet others will be gentrified. What is worse is that many times these communities aren’t being heard. But YOU can help give favela leaders a voice, and it won't cost you a single cent.

Catalytic Communities, the NGO founded by my friend Theresa that has nine years experience working with Rio’s favelas, is now in the final round of the ideablob competition to win $10,000 for their idea: “Rio Olympics: Ensuring a Powerful Legacy for Rio’s Favelas.” They need our help to vote. Its easy and quick, and the idea with the most votes wins.

If CatComm wins, they will train 200 community leaders from across the city of Rio de Janeiro in creative use of social media, which will amplify their voices so they are heard by the muncipal authorities, the media, and the global community. Rio´s current administration is very sensitive to media and foreign opinion, so there is a lot of power in CatComm’s approach.

Why do I think you should vote? Because it's a good idea, and because you can. It's really that simple.

Here's what to do:
  • Go here and click “VOTE”.
  • If you haven’t already registered at ideablob, you will need to register. Registration takes putting in your email address and confirming it’s your address by one click. That’s it. Anyone with an email address, regardless of your country, can register.
  • Once registered, login and vote for Catalytic Communities before October 31st.
  • Blog, tweet, and facebook about it! Try and recruit at least five friends!
Together we can make sure that all Brazilians feel proud to wave their flags in 2016!

Thanks for doing what you can do. Today.