Forward Momentum

Jocelyn Hagerman CEO, The Hagerman Foundation President, Skypoint Ventures LLC Founder, #FlintFwd Photo Courtesy Skypoint Ventures
Jocelyn Hagerman CEO, The Hagerman Foundation President, Skypoint Ventures LLC Founder, #FlintFwd. Photo courtesy Skypoint Ventures
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Jackie Berg, Founder & Publisher, TheHUB Flint

Every movement starts with an idea. In the case of the Flint Forward (#FlintFwd) campaign, the idea was to promote the strength, creativity, and versatility of the community it represents.

#FlintFwd began as a social media strategy to inspire a city bombarded by unflattering images and bad news. Flint business owner, investor and champion Jocelyn Hagerman knew there were positive stories in need of telling, despite a nationally publicized water emergency, so she launched FlintFwd.org and started hash-tagging away.

Hagerman’s team added marketing flourishes, including photos and videos, followed by t-shirts and “thunder sticks,” cool noisemakers used at rallies and sporting events. It’s all in an effort to elevate awareness of the enormous strength, character and resilience of Flint residents.

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Photo by Levi Perales

“We want the community to embrace this,” Hagerman told me when I met her late this summer. “This is theirs.”

The community seems to agree. In less than a year #FlintFwd has caught the attention of thousands, locally and beyond, and continues to spread. City natives like Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and performer Mama Sol, who recorded a spoken word poem for the website, are among those who’ve saluted the movement. Michigan State University men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo recorded a video in which he fondly remembered winning a championship with multiple “Flint stones” among his players, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio showed his civic love by using the hash tag.

The #FlintFwd campaign has gained visibility among residents and supporters across the country.

Stories of success and determination have become #FlintFwd’s bailiwick. Grand Blanc and Flint movie theaters even screen videos from the campaign between featured showings. Hagerman and her team encourage anyone and everyone to show support by adding a “like” to the Facebook page and helping toward the goal of 10,000 by year’s end.

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Young Life of Genesee County members are a part of the momentum that is moving Flint forward. Photo courtesy Skypoint Ventures

To some the effort might be deemed merely an innovative public relations campaign, but #FlintFwd is a highly visible reminder of the mission at hand. Without forward movement any community can crumble under the weight of its biggest challenges. A campaign that rallies support, aligns a community behind a common and worthwhile cause, and lifts positive voices is one we all can, and should, join.

Editor’s Note: #FlintFwd board members include founder Jocelyn Hagerman, Rachel Pastukhov, Dylan Straka, Tim Bograkos, Carma Lewis, Kathleen Gazall, Peter Fish, Karianne Martus, George Wilkinson, Linda Moxam, Phil Shaltz and Cole Sanseverino.

 

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