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Why We’re Still Talking about #SkeletonVideo

March 13, 2015

Today’s blog is a reflection from AmeriCorps Alums Co-Executive Directors Mary Bruce & Ben Duda. This post is also part of AmeriCorps Alums’ REALTalk series on race, equity, and AmeriCorps alumni as leaders. 

Have you seen the #skeletonvideo? We’re guessing you have, since it’s already been viewed nearly 45 million times, so far. 45 million! (It’s okay if you haven’t. We won’t tell. Just go watch it now and come right back!)

The #skeletonvideo has a catchy tune and an important message. It spurred interesting conversations in our office – and we’re guessing yours. Besides debating which skeleton had the best dance moves (min 1:07), much more of the conversation was about equity & equality.

How can we carry the joy of this video into the communities where we live and work? And how does the spirit of the video confront the real tensions and hard realities we’re facing as a country and a global community?

And, why did it go viral??? Why did this video get so much traction, but other videos, with equally catchy tunes and important messages didn’t? Like this one, or this, or this, or this.

Whether or not there’s a catchy YouTube video, we think about this stuff a lot at Alums. Happiness, hope. Leadership, legacy. Justice. Each day, we also challenge ourselves to think about our individual and organizational commitments to this work. (We do more than watch YouTube videos here, we promise). In the past few months, we’ve been thinking a lot about a few key pieces of data:

These numbers don’t lie. Issues of equity and diversity are more than a hashtag. They’re real, persistent, and entrenched.

The real question is, what can we do about it? These issues are affecting our lives, and in the sector we say we care about the most. The sector of changemakers; of leaders. The sector we keep saying alums of AmeriCorps will lead.

We want to dig deep on these issues. And we want you to as well.

Over the coming year, we’ll be working with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s “Social Sector Talent Pipeline Lab.” This is some of the coolest work we’ve ever done, with some of the smartest people we know (you can learn more here). In the meantime, let us know what you think, or if you think there are other resources we should know about. Leave a note in the comments or email us at ben@americorpsalums.org or mary@americorpsalums.org.

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