Friday, November 14, 2008

Positive Change, Flowing Both Ways

By Thomas Henning

The essence of change this year--both for Cable Positive and for the American political process--has come from the ground up; from community activists to national leaders. The common link in this chain of change across the country and throughout our industry has been forged by whole new applications of technology, designed to make entire governments, as well as non-profit organizations, much more accessible to individual stakeholders.

Barck Obama's incredibly successful campaign for President pioneered use of the internet, not only for political fundraising--where small denominations of contributions amassed to a total of $750 million--but also established the use of websites and social networking sites as superb tools of community organization. It's a lesson that non-profits need to learn well, especially during tight economic times, when usual methods of raising funds for life-saving programs become more & more difficult.

Cable Positive has worked hard to keep pace with sweeping changes in technology, to be more response to the people who support us throughout the Cable industry, and to better serve people with HIV/AIDS in local communities across the country. Last week, at the CTAM Summit held in Boston, Cable Positive unveiled its new, more interactive website as part of a powerful new campaign focusing on Cable Positive as a "public service of the Cable industry," aimed at improving the lives of people in local communities wherever a cable system is located.

Last year, at the NCTA Convention in New Orleans, scores of volunteers from NBC-Universal, Time Warner Cable, SES Americom and other companies, donated huge chunks of their time to help improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS at AIDS residences in the Lower Ninth Ward. This year, MTV Networks provided a team of their talented staff to renovate and redesign part of Iris House in Harlem, NYC. And, as we prepare for the NCTA Convention slated for Washington, DC, in April, 2009, cable companies and networks are already lining up to do volunteer work in community-based AIDS organization's throughout the Nation's Capitol, in collaboration with Cable Positive.

Change has been reshaping the Cable industry over the past several years, and the internet has been growing into as powerful a communications tool as television. Combining the enormous resources of both and using them to deliver--and receive--urgent messages of HIV/AIDS awareness and education to millions of individuals in hundreds of communities, is the kind of positive change we need.

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