In the middle of a late night study session at 1 A.M., Zac Hewitt ’12 sent an urgent text message to Anna Press ’13, Parisa Zamanian ’13, and Erin Mayer ’13, asking them to meet him in the Sarah Lawrence College library immediately.
Hewitt’s hurry was because he’d come up with an idea: “Someone’s There For You,” an online forum where people could share the one thing they most wanted to say. Press loves photography and could take the photos; Zamanian is involved with LGBT issues and outshines most at social organizing and community service; and Mayer would know how to make the project reach beyond Sarah Lawrence—it also doesn’t hurt that she is passionate about Tumblr blogs!
Out of their early morning meeting, the blog was birthed, and states simply that its goal is to have people “share messages of hope, optimism, solidarity, and love.”
With the help of Student Affairs and College Events, the group hosted a photo shoot a few Sundays after their initial late-night library rendezvous, and over forty students showed up to have photos taken of their messages.
“The response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive,” Hewitt says, who hails from Maine but is spending his summer working as a counselor at an art camp in California. The blog currently boasts over seventy posts, and accepts unsolicited submissions.
Each post is a photo of an individual holding up a sign with their message. One student wrote, “Ask a single mother what she needs for her family”; another’s sign says, “I heart therapy,” in the hopes of dispelling the stigmas associated with mental health; and another quoted Dr. Seuss: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”
Hewitt is a bit reluctant to share the origin of the blog’s name.
“It’s my mom’s fault, really,” he says with a smile. “She raised me listening to Cher, and I’ve always listened to her ‘Song for the Lonely.’ One of the lines is ‘Can you hear this prayer? Cause someone’s there for you.’”
Hewitt frequently listens to pop music, and has noticed that popular artists like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are writing a lot of anthems, and he thinks it’s because something is really wrong.
“It’s not just that everything ‘will be okay,’ like a lot of people are saying now,” he explains. “There are serious issues we want to address, and we need to figure out what’s wrong and say something about it.”
So, the only question left is: What do you have to say?