Panel and In-The-Sky Presentation Draw Crowd and Attention
Futures Without Violence and The Representation Project Bring Together Politicians and Players In Forum: The NFL Can and Should Do More
Panel and In-The-Sky Presentation Draws Crowd and Attention to Campaign:
Media Contact: David Perry
6 February 2016 – San Francisco: If you project your message onto a skyscraper, they will come. Last night, an overflow crowd of community leaders, politicians, and NFL sports stars attended a special reception, panel discussion and in-the-sky screen kick-off of the #BeAModelMan campaign (www.BeAModelMan.org). Sponsored by Futures Without Violence (www.futureswithoutviolence.org) and The Representation Project (www.representationproject.org), last night’s event at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts next to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Fountain took the anti-violence message right to the front door of the NFL Experience and media center at Moscone Center.
“Too often, we men live behind a mask of what we’re told it means ‘to be a man.’” said California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, moderator for last night’s panel. “We need to take off the mask and live out healthy images of masculinity.”
The panel was comprised of Esta Soler, Founder and President of Futures Without Violence, Lorenzo Neal, 16 season NFL veteran, Dr. Joseph Marshall, founder of the Alive and Free -Omega Boys Club, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of The Representation Project and filmmaker of The Mask You Live In, and Travis Threlkel, co-founder & Chief Creative Officer of Obscura Digital whose unique invention has projected the campaign onto some of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks.
“Violence is learned and what can be learned, can be unlearned. That’s our job and our challenge,” said Soler, noting that partnering with professional sports organizations — and the NFL — was an important part of their ongoing work. “We want professional athletes to succeed both on the field and off. ”
One of the audience members had a very personal response to the evening: Marvin Jones of the Cincinnati Bengals.
“First of all, I love this conversation. My father is a pastor and a sheriff. He gave me the foundation of loving and caring for your family, ” said Jones. “I’m a football player, but it doesn’t define me. I’m a father first. Everywhere I go, I try to instill in kids the little details so that they can see them. Respect for women starts at home. Hug your wife. Kids will pick that up.”
“We need to stop raising up athletic prowess at the expense of character. We need to build character with our NFL players. That’s what it means to be a model man, ” said Marshall one of the event’s most passionate speakers. “Entitlement doesn’t mean empowerment. Let’s give young men the tools. Otherwise, we’re putting a BandAid on a shotgun. ”
During the height of Super Bowl 50 celebrations, Futures Without Violence and The Representation Project have been taking their message to the streets — and the façades of buildings — via a mobile, high tech projection system from Obscura Digital to provoke the question: what does it mean to #BeAModelMan? Last night following the panel, the campaign was projected onto the facade of a skyscraper to an audience of thousands driving and walking by.
The innovative campaign is literally, in your face. At various times throughout Super Bowl Week, a one-of-a-kind Tesla electric car equipped with a state-of-the-art mobile projector has been popping up at sites around the Bay Area using the sides of buildings to display a variety of images and messages that promote healthy masculinity and violence prevention. The technology and creative engine driving the campaign is San Francisco’s Obscura Digital (www.obscuradigital.com), internationally known for such efforts as projecting onto the Dome of St. Peter’s at the Vatican in Rome or using New York’s Empire State Building as a backdrop to raise awareness of species threatened by extinction.
“A real man knows real respect,” said NFL legend Ronnie Lott who is adding his name to the effort. “We have to do a better job providing positive role models, on and off the field. With adults modeling healthy masculinity, it shows boys that winning isn’t everything, and treating women and girls with respect is part of being a man. I’m proud to stand up and call on men to do more with Futures Without Violence and The Representation Project.”
Appearing via a video message during last night’s event was Jackson Katz, Ph.D. who appeared in The Mask You Live In.
“We have a big problem in our society and in the world of violence against women, and the athletic sub-culture plays an incredibly influential role, ” said Dr. Katz. “The NFL, as one of the most prominent sports organizations in the world, can play an incredibly powerful leading role and set a model at all levels of our society. ”
“We need men to help us in this effort. As a mother, I know that,” said Siebel Newsom whose documentary The Mask You Live In inspired the campaign and whose organization, The Representation Project, produced the evening’s video campaign.. The evening closed out with a special screening of the film. “This is about our boys, and about our men learning to be role models for our boys. We’ve been socializing our boys to disconnect their heads from their hearts. We shame them for having feelings and emotions. We can start in the classroom and on the field. Let’s make a concerted effort to value empathy and relationships.”