Over the past few weeks, there have been a rash of suicides and hate crimes afflicting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) community. Tyler Clemente, Justin Aeberg, and Billy Lucas are just three of the young people who have committed suicide after being teased and bullied because of their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. At the same time, there have been violent anti-gay attacks in New York. It’s a series of tragedies that people know well, but no one knows how to solve.

Dan Savage, however, is calling forth the troops in a valiant attempt. He founded the It Gets Better Project to provide hope and resources for people who are being bullied for their sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation, and/or gender presentation. He and his partner made a YouTube video with a clear message: life can be hard, but it gets better – and you should do your best to stick around to see it.

Although there are some problems with the video, here’s how it’s related to SPARK: it’s working. The project takes advantage of social media for social good, and it’s gone viral. The website lists over 800 videos, and YouTube is swamped with them – messages of hope and love available to anyone with internet access. And more importantly, it’s more than just talk. Savage’s website and many of the videos link viewers to the Trevor Project, which provides confidential counseling to LGBTQ youth 24/7. And people like City Councilman Joel Burns of Fort Worth, TX are sharing videos and working for positive political change.

SPARK encourages young women to engage with the media as activists, organizers, media makers and more. Savage’s project is an example of the grassroots power of new social media. Check it out, add to it, and get inspired! And join us for the SPARK summit next Friday to learn even more.