Some people refuse to betray logic by giving credence to something they haven’t seen, but Julia Byers and Hannah Levine fiercely believe in the unseen. Neither has seen Girl Rising but they both made a video supporting it, rest assured in the film’s underlying message. Said Julie: If you have the ability to help change the world, why wouldn’t you?
They uploaded their Girl Rising advocacy video on Project for Awesome, affectionately known as P4A, an annual YouTube event in which thousands of social good visionaries create videos supporting their favorite charity. In addition to discovering new YouTubers, viewers can donate money to the charity by simply writing a comment. To date, P4A 2013 has raised $869,146 and received 470,538 comments. The online event began in 2007 and is held every year on December 17 so creative types from around the world can, for one day of the year, dominate the most popular video-sharing site in the interest of good. The charities featured in the ten videos that the community collectively decide are the best of the year receive the proceeds of the campaign. Hannah and Julia’s video has received 193 views and 21 comments.
Hannah’s family epitomizes the most formalistic approach to education: her grandparents, parents, uncles, and sister are all medical doctors. She even went with her parents on a medical mission to Ecuador two years ago. As she took pictures of a clinic set-up, the click of the shutter reminded her that she can help people tell their stories through photography. “People can hear about issues all day long, but if they don’t see it, they can easily ignore it.” Julia also grew up in a family that stresses the benefits of education, and she realizes there are many ways to help communities other than through medicine. As a creative writing major, she writes about ways to deal with grief. “We should be focused on solving problems rather than treating the symptoms.”
They both plan to see Girl Rising soon at a screening at the University of Michigan, where they are both currently sophmores. Given their backwards approach towards advocating the film, what will they do if Girl Rising doesn’t live up to their expectations? “Having our mind blown, is what we’re expecting. If we don’t like it, we still think it’s a good movement. The overall concept behind Girl Rising is something we support- making sure people receive education that they should have a right to,” says Hannah.