Tonight, the news media is referring to me as “Winnipeg woman“. In some spots, I was “Manitoba woman”. You see, I’m the Winnipeg woman (wife, mama, sister, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, and friend) who sparked an idea because of a concert announcement.
On Friday, July 12, a local radio station tweeted it would be sharing a MAJOR concert announcement at 4:00 pm CST. I was intrigued. Until a few minutes after 4 pm when I realized who the entertainer was. Chris Brown. Meh. I was not thrilled. So I took to Twitter to say so.
Following the reaction I received on my personal Facebook, I thought I would throw it out to the Twitterverse to see if anyone wanted to help me host a fundraiser the same evening of the Chris Brown concert.
Sure enough a cherished Winnipeg favourite stepped up. Academy Lanes offered up their venue. I began to think maybe I was on to something. What if I could give people an alternative to the Chris Brown concert that evening? What if people put the money they would spend on a concert ticket into the hands of Osborne House instead?
And from these humble beginnings #LovingHands Don’t Hit was born. This event is not anti Chris Brown. I’ve always preferred to focus on the positive. I’m pro education and changing minds, or even just giving minds pause to think. I’m a realist. I know I won’t stop the Chris Brown concert from happening. And really this event is not even about Chris Brown. It’s about Person X. It’s about a mama and her children cowering in fear from her husband/partner. I cannot stand by and do nothing. I was given a voice and an opportunity. And I wanted to use it for good.
Metro Winnipeg’s editor Elisha Dacey was the first to share my story about creating an alternative event to the Chris Brown concert. Then Metro National picked it up. And suddenly my one little tweet was growing to a roar.
Then the calls started coming from local media–print, television, and radio. They were saying their national newsrooms wanted to run the story too. It was incredible.
I’m a social media strategist and PR professional. My company is hired to get this kind of attention for our clients. But even after almost 15 years in this profession, I am amazed at how fast this all happened. When your story hits CBC’s The National and the Globe and Mail, it means people are actually listening to what you have to say and you have been afforded a platform where you can affect change.
This story is not about a protest. I’m a former fan of Chris Brown. The wedding video that went viral featuring the entire bridal party dancing to his song “Forever” made me cry with joy when it came out. I’m not amazing. But I’m a wife, mama, sister and aunt who can’t imagine my daughter or any woman I love coming home with a beaten and bloodied face or body. To me, this about women and children who live with domestic violence every day. This is about education and advocacy. This about teaching our young girls and boys what constitutes domestic violence, what the signs are, and how to get help.
To read the Globe and Mail story, please click here.
To view the CBC story, please click here.
To donate to #LovingHands Don’t Hit, please click here.