Dear Engaged Bystander: This week, I had the chance to go to New York City and saw the NSVRC public service announcement in Times Square. I grew up outside of NYC and this PSA had a lot of significance for me.
If you know NYC at all, you will have heard of 42nd Street. When I was growing up, this was the street where all of the peep shows and xxx rated films were shown. About 10 years ago, the City began to actively transform this street. Disney invested in theater renovations and the City moved the xxx rated stores and theaters out.
What makes this so incredible? Of any street in America, this is the street I would never have imagined a PSA about preventing sexual violence showing on a billboard. This was the street I would never walk down alone when I was a teenager.
And the ad itself is moving. It says “It’s time… for listen, to respect, to protect, to support, to ask for consent, to speak out, to prevent sexual violence.
This ad contrasts with another PSA around the corner that was good, but it was speaking out against fear. They used a series of quotes about fear:
- He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.
- Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves -- regret for the past and fear of the future.
- You block your dream when you allow fear to grow bigger than your faith.
While I agree with the sentiment of the ad, it does not go far enough. It says we can’t live in fear. But the NSVRC ad goes so much further and says what we need to work TOWARDS. So as I walked toward the Broadway play we were lucky enough to get tickets for, I reveled in the possibility of change and the amount of change I have been privileged to see in my life.