When I wake up at five each morning to write, there’s one thing I do before anything else. Before I turn my laptop on or make a cup of tea, I turn on my tv.
While some people like to listen to music when they work, tv is my go-to background noise. I’ll confess, though, on occasion I can get too wrapped up in the shows on my DVR.
From Burn Notice and Psych to White Collar and Suits, USA Network has probably been the biggest culprit in my early-morning procrastination.
However, their focus on character-driven stories has led to more than just an entertaining slate of shows.
Inspired by their “Characters Welcome” brand, USA Network developed the Characters Unite public service campaign to address social injustice and cultural division.
With the support of national nonprofits like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; Children’s Defense Fund; and The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, they’ve developed activities on-air, online and in communities to promote understanding and acceptance.
Today and tomorrow the Characters Unite bus tour is stopping in Cleveland’s Public Square.
Because they’re spreading a message I really stand behind, I wanted to encourage anyone who’s downtown the next couple of days to stop by.
Whether it’s bullying, racism, homophobia, intolerance, it’s time to say “I won’t stand for” hate and discrimination. Stop by Public Square between 11am and 8pm on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19 to lend your voice to the campaign.
Film an “I won’t stand for…” video as part of the Characters Unite movement (you can see others’ videos on the I Won’t Stand For site). Or personalize an “I Won’t Stand for” t-shirt and take the message with you.
If you can’t make it out either day, the tour is just one part of USA Network’s Characters Unite Month and online they provide many other ways to help build awareness:
- Share your story at join.charactersunite.com and by tweeting with the #IWontStandFor hashtag
- Learn more about individual issues and national organizations that fight intolerance. Support these nonprofits with a donation or take action.
- Educators can use the activity guide The Power of Storytelling to Promote Tolerance and Respect to encourage conversations in the classroom about prejudice and discrimination.
And then get involved in the local community. Cleveland’s Foundation Center has a great infographic about Northeast Ohio’s diverse nonprofit community. You can find volunteer opportunities at many area nonprofits through HandsOn Northeast Ohio, Greater Cleveland Volunteers and ServeOhio.