Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the Homeless HotSpots controversy at this year’s SXSW festival.
As a woman who was once homeless, and as a woman who’s at SXSW this year, I feel the need to weigh in on the situation and to try to change the focus of the discussion. Click though for my whole response.
SXSW is a place of privilege. It is also a place where many people try to innovate new ways to do good in the world. But that doesn’t change the dynamic of how hard it can be to come face to face with your own privilege…
…As much time as has been spent talking about whether or not this short-term program is something that SXSW attendees feel comfortable about, any additional time spent criticizing should be spent innovating. If all the thought and technology leaders gathered in Austin want to pause to talk about homelessness — imagine the great potential of good if they put their smarts, their abilities and their passions into creating new solutions….
…The power of SXSW is the power of ideas and the ability to turn them into creative outputs. This seems like a perfect time to turn some of that focus into serving the homeless by more than payment for 4G service. Maybe I’m an optimist on this front, but then, SXSW is a gathering of optimists who believe that good ideas can make for a better world. If the Homeless Hotspots project leads to a few people generating income during a time their entire city is doing the same, it will be worth it. If it can also lead to some of the most powerful thought leaders in the country making homelessness an issue they work on, the experiment can have more value than any of us alone could imagine.
Full piece here. Feel free to comment and share as you feel so moved.