Here it is: the public art activism project we created right here at Phoenix Rising: Sock It To ME/cfs. Welcome! A Game Changer In her May 2009 speech The Why, Hillary Johnson, investigative journalist and author of Osler's Web, called on the ME/cfs community to come up with something that would make as meaningful a statement as the AIDS quilt. She said the quilt was a game changer for AIDS, and we need something similar. This triggered the idea of socks. We're hoping this could be a Game Changer. Sock created by Jace... to see more examples check out the Show Us Your Socks thread. Why we are taking a stand in our stocking feet: The suffering caused by ME/CFS is mostly invisible. People won’t see us at our worst: many of us with ME/CFS are housebound or even bedridden by the disease. Rarely putting on shoes to walk in the world, we live in our socks. Now we’re turning our socks into banners. We can’t hit the streets and march but our socks—and a few healthy friends—can march for us, calling attention to the urgent need for funding for research and treatment, and for action towards curing victims and to stop the disease’s spread. Anyone can create and send in a sock to represent themselves or a loved one with the disease. Each sock will be decorated to honor the person it represents, just as AIDS quilt squares each represent individual HIV-AIDS sufferers. Those who can't make socks themselves can get a blank to decorate, or can ask a volunteer to decorate a sock for them. Socks, gathered into a long “garland” with others, will be displayed at conferences, events, marches and parades to make ME/CFS more visible. Project Underway So now the sock project is underway. We have a website under construction and looking pretty good! We have an address for receiving socks and a volunteer to help assemble the socks into "garlands" to be carried in marches or hung up in displays---perhaps at the Washington DC plaza one day, as the AIDS quilt has been displayed! We have a volunteer coordinator, a publicity coordinator, and lots of people who want to help in smaller ways. And we have us, all of us at Phoenix Rising. Getting close to Launch Time! The project officially launches on ME/CFS Awareness Day, May 12, 2010. We're getting out press releases calling on ME/CFS sufferers and healthy supporters alike to take part in this project. To-Do List This list will be updated as we move the project along. Please scroll down to post #6 below, and see "Next Steps." If you can pitch in with knitting mini sock lapel pins, sewing sock blanks, scouting locations for displays and obtaining permits, getting the word out to media outlets, line up some sponsorship, or any of many ways... email the volunteer coordinator at SockIt2MEcfs@gmail.com with VOLUNTEER in the subject line. That'll help us keep from duplicating efforts: having two people contact the same sponsor and such. Post ideas here: we can keep on generating ideas to move the project ahead and keep it moving. So if you're not up for being the Location Scout, but you have a good idea for a location, please post it. If you're not up for actually contacting a possible corporate sponsor but you have a great idea for a good one, post your idea. And we can all try to match up ideas with people who have the energy to see them through. And of course, we can all help get the word out. There will soon be a Facebook group for Sock It To ME, and a twitter and all that good stuff. We can start telling our friends and family, linking the website to them, spreading the word so there will actually be something happening in time for the May 12 release! If you are making/decorating a sock...please get a photo of yourself doing so if you'd be willing to have it included in the website and/or press packages. Got video or audio skills? You could make a 50-second PSA to send to media outlets. I could help script one but don't have production equipment or digital skills. Got a great address book? We'll need contact names and addresses to send the press release and other materials to. Got an inside line with Dr. Donnica, Klimas, Bell or Peterson? Maybe you could ask for a doctor's endorsement of the project. Please let me know if want to you do this so I won't duplicate the effort. Are you a freelance writer? You might consider writing an article on the project and seeing if you could get it published anywhere from a local newspaper to an international web magazine or wherever. Discuss... this thread is as much for us to share enthusiasm for the project as to get the nuts and bolts accomplished. So please go ahead and post about the theme you're working on for your own sock, or your friends' giggling reaction to the idea, or another fabulous Sock Pun you just came up with. I just ask that nobody derail the project by suggesting that it's the wrong idea, or that something entirely different would be better, or whatever, because it's past that early project-brainstorming point. Time, money and energy have been invested, the project is a go. Thanks! For all the discussion and ideas, for the energy we all share here, for having something to do at last, for getting to be a part of a creative force to fight our disease, I am grateful to Phoenix Rising and everyone here. ~ Creek P.S. Somebody who is not a native speaker of English asked me in a pm, what does "sock it to me" mean? I hadn't realized that it wouldn't be common enough to be familiar to most English speakers (even as a second language). It is a very common idiomatic expression. To "sock" can mean to hit, as with fists. So if you socked it to M. E. you would be striking a blow against the disease. Etymology Online tells us: sock (v.) 1700, "to beat, hit," of uncertain origin. To sock it to (someone) first recorded 1877. But "sock it to me" is familiar to many people from the song RESPECT (written by Otis Redding but made wildly popular by Aretha Franklin) which has the refrain, R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find out what it means to me; R-E-S-P-E-C-T Take care, TCB sock it to me sock it to me sock it to me... Here, TCB = Take Care of Business, and "sock it to me" has the meaning, "lay it on me," "give it to me straight," or, in plainest English, either "tell me" or "let me have it." So Aretha was singing, "Take care of business, and let me have my proper respect." Appropriate sentiments to our illness, I think many would agree. The popular1960s US TV show, "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," played with these alternate meanings---"tell me" or "hit me," as a running gag. I'm glad I was asked. Now anyone else who is wondering will know!