Today marks the first anniversary of the creation of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility, launched in 2012 to promote and support programs, initiatives, and events that address some of the social, economic and political issues facing us today. We’ve come a long way in our first year and we’re looking forward to many years of service to our community at large. I hope that in some small way we’ve helped you to become more socially aware. I hope that we’ve inspired you to continue being socially responsible
When I created the Marketplace the concept was quite simple, leverage social media to provide a vehicle for individuals to collaborate, unite, and effect change. My vision was clear and has not changed. I believe that if we create a mechanism for us to communicate and share information, a “Marketplace” of sorts, we will be in a better position to collaborate and work collectively.
This is the reason the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility was created.
Since that time we have created our Facebook page, Twitter account, newsletter, and most importantly our website, www.mfsasr.com. Each form of media serves a different yet important purpose in our desire to realize our vision.
Facebook has been our primary vehicle to disseminate information. It allows us to reach a broad audience to share our message. When it comes to social awareness the Marketplace is focused on:
• Voter's rights
• Stop, Question, and Frisk
• Affirmative action
• Reforming our criminal justice system
• Disparities in our educational system
• The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and organizations with similar agendas
I believe Facebook is a valuable tool in our arsenal but I also believe that Facebook can be a deterrent to our progress. Sometimes Facebook clouds the difference between social awareness and social responsibility. Facebook is a fantastic means to make us more socially aware, it will not make us socially responsible. We cannot allow ourselves to be lulled into believing that by "liking" a post or sharing a news article that we are being socially responsible. For us to be socially responsible we have to do something. One of the challenges with Facebook is that information shared is temporary. A post shared today will end up in news feed oblivion tomorrow, never to be found or discussed again.
That is why the Marketplace is so important. I invite you to visit our website and engage. The Marketplace is a working website. That means that we expect you to work! Answer polls, facilitate forum discussions, submit letters to the editor, and send us your pictures and videos. Tell us about your programs and events.
We can make this a true “Marketplace” devoted to social issues. It’s up to us.
I look ahead to our second year with great promise. We launched the MSASR Social Responsibility Scholarship Program in February and are proud to be able to award our first Community Service Scholarship in a couple of months. We plan on adding a variety of scholarships to our portfolio in the near future. Our tagline is “Every student deserves a chance to receive a college education”. I believe that those of us that are in a position to help have an obligation and responsibility to do so.
We are planning our first Social Responsibility Symposium. The theme is “Social Media vs. Social Responsibility, A Delicate Balance”. I will share more information with you as we finalize the arrangements and agenda.
There is so much that I have to be thankful for but most of all I am thankful that you have chosen to let the Marketplace into your lives. It is my sincere hope that you continue with me on this journey.
It starts now, let's get this thing done...
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility Inc.