The most important storytelling work right now at Diabadass is the American insulin crisis. After a bike touring trip for Miles of Portraits halfway around the world, I spent over 40 days in Bangalore, India deciding to remain there for the COVID-19 lockdown rather than flying home to New Jersey. One reason for staying was that I could go to the corner drug store or use an online pharmacist and get insulin for $19 USD per vial delivered with freeze packs within 24 hours.
If you already know you want to join Diabadass' YouTube launch, click here to apply in 10+ minutes before March, 30th, 2022
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Beyond the close connections made with type 1 diabetics in India, thanks to a conference invitation from Dr. Apoorva (@t1d_fighter), I am constantly afraid to return to America because of personal barriers to access insulin.
America has made people living with insulin-dependent diabetes not feel like citizens or welcomed visitors because of our medical condition.
This is why Diabadass, with the support of our founding members, is bringing together a paid group of volunteers to publish our stories on the second-largest search engine in the world...Youtube.
You have an invitation to join our founder, Erik Douds (aka me), on a two month journey to meet the Diabadass community as we launch on YouTube. You do not need to have film experience.
In fact, this volunteer group is a way to learn directly from my lessons in adventure filmmaking, alongside former riding partner Annalisa van den Bergh (also T1D), that has successfully put diabetes-imagery and storytelling on the cover of Adventure Cyclist magazine, presented to national audiences at 13+ REI locations and on REI.com, and working with major outdoor brands like Pearl iZUMi.
What skills are we looking for? Every single video published on our community channel will require coordination, scheduling, structure, outreach, sponsorship, and 1000% energy.
If it sounds like you have found your people, use this link to apply now: fill out the Diabadass volunteer YouTube application (10+ minutes).
My journey with Diabadass would have ended in the first year if it was not for the overwhelming support of this community. Complete strangers from Vancouver, British Columbia to the Woodlands of Texas have opened their homes and hearts because of our unspoken bond through diabetes.
You will become part of this community and the journey by becoming involved.
The reason Diabadass is offering $100 to each of our new volunteer group is to set a baseline that says your time and your unique voice is valued in our storytelling efforts. A resilient grassroots community needs financial investments to dedicate our time and emotional energy to publish our vulnerabilities to the world.
We pledge to unbind the mental burnout and financial drain that is the status quo of diabetes advocacy. Our conversations in this community are limited because volunteering has been traditionally offered as an experience only, unpaid, opportunity. This is a way to selectively eliminate all advocates who cannot work for free.
The American insulin crisis may never reach those advocates who have always had a traditional job, traditional job-related securities, and traditional insurance.
Because we are rooted in the disability-creator experience, Diabadass is paying all advocates for their time to expand the pool of stories, experiences, and talents of this community.
Diabadass has a seat waiting and available to voices traditionally marginalized in advocacy conversations. We will actively set standards to to have more black voices, indigenous tribes people, people of color, and LGTBQ+ paid for their work and voice. Creatives living with diabetes (and other chronic diseases) should be included as part of a disability-advocacy standard that needs further definition.
Personally, I'd like to set a 25% diversity and inclusion goal for this volunteer group. Meaning that 25% of our volunteers will voluntarily disclose that they identify as black, indigenous, a person of color, or LGBTQ+. If we fail to reach this goal, that part of our budget will be set aside for a BIPOC or LGBTQ+ creative project (est. $250).
This group will have active conversations about what these standards mean and how to go beyond to make sure creators in our community feel heard, acknowledged, and seen. After all, feeling invisible is too often the binding glue of the diabetes community.
As Emmanuel Acho, a Nigerian-American former NFL linebacker and recipient of Oprah’s financial backing, writes in Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man about the cumulative effect of supporting other black-authors:
“As more of these projects become profitable, more of them will exist in the world.”
Emmanuel continues on to say that as a community has more voices the more stereotypes are dismantled. What impacts could we feel in our community with more voices being heard?
Diabadass is member-supported. This roots us in our community's stories and causes. We enhance this work and expand our reach by partnering with outdoor companies, environmental non-profits, and health-lifestyle brands. Every industry resonates with a message of overcoming unexpected obstacles to reach for our highest dreams.
Protecting our authentic voice traces back to my family being directly impacted by type 1 diabetes starting with my grandfather “Chuck” Douds in the 1940s. Within 80 years, we have invented a way to save people with type 1 diabetes while simultaneously taking that human-right away from Americans.
Diabadass exists as a community hub to amplify and uplift projects and voices within this community.
If you are still here...you rock.
Here are some more details...
We'll be breaking down our time into four Zoom calls (encouraged but not mandatory); eight work weeks to focus on launching the YouTube channel; and two weeks of celebration & feedback.
Bi-weekly 90 minute Zoom meeting held on Wednesday at 7pm EST - 8:30pm EST. This will alternate with group chat check ins using WhatsApp or another service.
Applications are due Wednesday, March 30th, 2022 with rolling acceptance.
As one of my diabetes heroes said during the Diabadass Facing Fear summit, “When we share our own story we create space for others.”
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Psssssst. Here is the full link to apply or share: https://form.jotform.com/220676663225155