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The Diversity Center invites viewers to "Rethink Labels"


In this evocative footage, the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio invites viewers to rethink the way people use labels. The film represents a quiet and powerful tool amid a social and political environment wherein subtlety is rare, and therefore that much more powerful.

  

"It's about the careful choice of words," says Tony Weber, CEO of Goldfarb Weber Creative Media, which created the film for the Diversity Center. "Words have such meaning to people, especially young people who are trying to find themselves," he adds, noting that hurtful labels damage a youth's self esteem with potentially disastrous consequences.
 
"We wanted to really produce something hard hitting that would get attention and start a discussion and a movement around the impact of labeling," says Weber. "Rethink Labels" aims to expose the negative impact of careless words and transform it into something positive. "The only way you do that is to get these kids to develop empathy and see the world through other peoples' eyes."

The footage was shot in one day last fall at Camp Wise, a high school retreat sponsored by the Diversity Center. Since it's launch at the organization's annual Humanitarian Award Dinner last November, viewers and advocacy groups have united behind the cause to #rethinklabels, a hashtag the Diversity Center encourages people to use when they share their own stories.
 
"The video has been shared thousands of times," says Weber, tagging organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, the National Youth Council of Ireland, the London-based Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation and the Southern Poverty Law Center. He also notes that anti-bullying and anti-racist groups as well as LGBT advocates have embraced the short film, which garnered a 2015 ADDY award in the Public Service Online Film, Video and Sound category from the American Advertising Federation – Cleveland.
 
"Words leave impressions on people," adds Weber. "Be careful what you say."
 

Read more articles by Erin O'Brien.

Erin O'Brien's eclectic features and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and others. The sixth generation northeast Ohioan is also author of The Irish Hungarian Guide to the Domestic Arts. Visit erinobrien.us for complete profile information.
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