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Growing Grass

A few weeks ago, Professor Stephen Hawking was quoted in The Guardian newspaper saying “there is no Heaven; it’s a fairy tale.” Shortly after, two radio “shock jocks” in the Houston market decided to take issue with Professor Hawking’s words by belittling his condition and questioning his abilities. I won’t repeat their attack, but it was immature and offensive to all people affected by ALS.

In response to their attack, a Facebook group was formed to boycott the radio personalities and the advertisers on their network of stations. The goal was formed to not just demand an apology but to make this a teachable moment by demanding that the parent company, Clear Channel, also air multiple PSAs. In addition, Clear Channel agreed to a 30-minute interview featuring Steve Perrin, the CEO of ALS-TDI. All of the boycott group’s demands were met.

This marks a major event in awareness for ALS. An organized grassroots movement was formed via social network tools and used those tools to achieve a goal long-sought in the community. This is only the beginning, and a perfect example of the kind of the cooperative relationship we need to foster with media, local and national.

2 thoughts on “Growing Grass”

  1. Interesting. The “offensive” (to some) comments of Prof. Hawking are OK, but “offensive” (to some) comments of the shock jocks are not?


  2. Professor Hawking was responding to a question about his personal beliefs. His response was not a personal attack on any one or group of people, as was the radio show in question. That is a significant difference. After the newspaper article came out I saw quite a few humorous responses which were quite witty and not at all offensive. The radio show in question was just mean-spirited and had nothing to do with the subject.

    However,the subject of this post is how a grassroots effort of a group of PALS/CALS were able to stand up for themselves and achieve in weeks what some major organization(s) have failed to do in years. We are no longer hidden away: We are empowered and will change our own world.

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