It was great connecting with you all in Bend and at MagnaBall! Thank you for visiting and for taking the time to learn about Lead Poisoning Prevention and the work of Lead Safe America.
In 2014 we helped more than 16,000 families in one way or another and thanks to outreach events like the Phish concerts this summer we’re poised to help far more in 2015! The impacts of childhood lead poisoning can include permanent brain damage and the key to lead poisoning prevention is “primary prevention” – educating families, teachers, homeowners, doctors, nurses and others about the issue BEFORE a child might be exposed.
All in all, we estimate that our volunteers and team spoke to more than 1,000 people (possibly even more, we actually lost count at some point!) at the five days of Phish events we attended this summer—more than 200 a day most days! The fun part was that folks stopped by in groups of 4 or 5 and everyone had questions and showed interest in the cause. Of course – being able to share that Jon Fishman’s own baby tested positive for lead truly made it personal and brought it home for each person we spoke with, and I am eternally grateful for the difference Jon and his wife Briar have made just by sharing their story – in an effort to protect other children from being exposed as their baby was.
Most of the conversations we had were “non-trivial” as well. Just one standout moment at Magnaball: we were having a pretty arcane conversation with a dental hygiene student – about the impact of childhood lead poisoning on calcium structures, resulting in dramatically increased tooth decay in many kids (and the related social stigma parents of these lead poisoned children face – including the psychological impact on these parents generated by many dentists’ lack of clinical knowledge of this issue) [discussing a possible topic for a thesis!], when a group of 3 or 4 dentists and 2 orthodontists wandered our way, drawn in upon randomly overhearing our conversation — wow, you can’t make this stuff up / pretty unlikely, huh?! Overall, we were slammed – constantly talking and sharing information and answering questions (with a smattering of free temporary tattoos and face-painting thrown in!)
The Phish concerts are truly magical – in terms of the awesome people who come and how committed each of those people seems to be about making a difference in the world, making the world a better place!
In the spirit of the concerts, I am writing to ask for your help – something you can probably do without too much effort: just a share on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter. We are working hard to raise finishing funds for our upcoming documentary film, “MisLEAD: America’s Secret Epidemic” (if you have not yet seen the trailer, please watch it here: MisLEADMovie.com)—the film is a project of our nonprofit, and since we began filming in December of 2011 more than 950 people have donated something to make the film possible; The Who and many other amazing musicians have donated music, Noam Chomsky is in the film – among a fascinating cast of so many great thinkers and experts and policymakers and doctors and researchers – and parents – looking at this huge “hidden” epidemic in the U.S. (and Jon Fishman and his wife Briar are also supporters of the project).
We started shooting in December 2011 – just over 3-1/2 years ago – and are now in post production(!) and showing a nearly complete 94-minute rough cut to rave reviews from test audiences around the country (nearly 4,000 people have seen a preview screening or rough-cut of film at this point!). We now just need to raise about $100,000 total to finish the post production work and get the film out to the world (all the relatively less exciting tech and admin stuff like color finishing, sound finishing, final animation and narration, misc. final editing, fees for securing remaining rights for stock images and music, festival submission fees, etc.)—and once the funds are raised, we only have about three months of full-time work left to do! In the meantime, our Special Preview screenings around the country are a way to take the movement forward in spite of the fact that the film is not quite done (it looks “done” – but we still have a lot of that “invisible” work to do.)
Jon & Briar Fishman saw the current preview cut of film, and know firsthand the impact it could have when it is finished—so Jon has offered to personally introduce the film at two preview screenings we are having in Vermont in October for Lead Poisoning Prevention month. He will also speak on the post-screening discussion panel, as a local parent of a lead poisoned child. Both events (in Burlington and Brattleboro, VT) are free and open to the public.
The event in Burlington is being hosted by the City of Burlington, and we will share details about that event shortly.
The event in Brattleboro is unhosted – which is unusual (and financially challenging for us); we are bringing the film to that region of VT because we’ve been told by local agency representatives that it has the highest lead poisoning rates and levels in the State, and so raising awareness and educating everyone on the keys to successful prevention is desperately needed there. When we come with the film, we will also bring 1,000 free lead-paint test kits to give to the local agencies to distribute to families in the area (worth about $14,000 retail!) [Thanks to the ongoing generous “unofficial” support in the form of donation of these invaluable test kits by a true angel at the “anonymous” corporate manufacturer of same <wink>.]
Since the Brattleboro event is not sponsored we need to raise at least $11,000 to make it happen. Accordingly, we have made it a fundraiser – both to cover the cost of the event AND to help cover the finishing costs of the film if we raise more than the minimum needed for the event. Each person who donates $1,000 or more will be invited to a private reception with Jon Fishman after the film screening! (An “afterparty”, if you will!)
Please share the attached digital postcard with folks you think might be inclined to share it again within the Phish network – and please consider donating in support of our work and coming to the event if you can. We have created an EventBrite link so you can RSVP (we need at least 75 solid RSVPs to go ahead with the event and are currently at about 21) and we also have set up a “GoFundMe” page for the event – that you can share (and donate if you can – or you can donate directly on our website at LeadSafeAmerica.org (and save us the extra GoFundMe fees!))
If everyone I am sending this note to (there are about 60 of you) could share about this event at least once today and then once again over the weekend, hopefully the Phish universe will take it from there and we will have a great event which will generate increased awareness of childhood lead poisoning and bring tools for testing and primary prevention to Brattleboro and then also raise a portion of the needed finishing funds for the film!
Thanks for reading!
P.S. A Quick summary/recap of our request(s):
1) Watch the film’s trailer (if you haven’t yet)- it’s just 2.5 minutes: MisLEADMovie.com
2) RSVP to come to the FREE event / film screening (with special guest Jon Fishman) in Brattleboro, VT (please only RSVP if you can actually make it on October 23rd! 🙂
3) Invite your FRIENDS (in real life!) to come to the event too! (especially friends that are homeowners or parents or doctors or nurses or teachers – and also Phish Phans!)
4) Share the digital postcard (below) about the event today (links here for Facebook and Twitter) – tag other Phish Phans or @Phish / @Phishnet
5) Donate in support of the Brattleboro event if you can – either on GoFundME or directly on our website at LeadSafeAmerica.org
6) Share about the event on Social Media again this weekend!
While you are at it – please consider supporting our work by following the film’s page on Facebook (which is how Jon and Briar found us in the first place!)
Thank you so much!