“Until this nation recognizes this tragic, avoidable catastrophe has shattered countless women and kids’ lives,” asserts HEAR US Inc. president Diane Nilan and producer of the film, “we will continue to lose them to the streets, a lamentable and preventable outcome.” Nilan, national organizer of this grassroots effort, considers this the most important campaign of her nonprofit’s history. She is counting on a strong reaction to this film to create a much-needed paradigm shift in this nation’s approach to homelessness.
Nilan teamed up with director Laura Vazquez, documentary maker and professor from Northern Illinois University, whose personal experience with homelessness as a young mom with a baby motivated her involvement. With 15 years running Chicago area shelters, 20 years of intense leadership to assure homeless kids can get into school, and 7 years traveling the nation’s backroads chronicling homeless families and youth, Nilan’s seen stereotypes work against implementing viable solutions to homelessness.
The seven women’s compelling stories give viewers insights of homelessness as it affects women, teens and children. Thousands of viewers--from California to Congress to Columbia University and beyond--have been profoundly moved. But the most disappointing response has been HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “He saw it, but HUD’s policies continue to ignore this vulnerable, invisible population,” Nilan laments.
Nilan urges supporters to visit the HEAR US home page which will lead them through the simple steps to contact their PBS affiliate, which needs to happen before Friday, April 6th. The film will also be available on DVD through HEAR US for $30 (plus shipping).
The few moments to petition their PBS affiliate could cause a cumulative positive effect, finally drawing public interest to an issue that is claiming many more victims. Nothing would be a better tribute to the courageous women who shared their stories than to know their stories caused a ripple of change on Mother’s Day.
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