Charitable Crowdsourcing Is Great — Provided You Have the Money, Time, and Know-How


Fast Company has a story today on Lydia Tillman, who was brutally raped, beaten, and doused with bleach (to prevent identification) last summer and only managed to survive by jumping out her second story window. Christ.

Now, a year later, Lydia has recovered most of her speech and physical functions through intensive therapy, and her attacker is behind bars for life. But she still needs a $65,000 procedure to reconstruct her jaw, so her brother Jacob, a 36-year-old artist and skateboard salesman, has launched an IndieGogo campaign to pay for her surgery. Jacob told Fast Company that he was inspired by bullied bus lady Karen Klein to take his sister’s “story to the social web” to raise the money for her surgery by skating every day in a pair of Nikes that have seen better days until he makes the money he needs.

It’s unarguably awesome that the Tillman family is using IndieGogo to fund Lydia’s surgery, but it feels a little strange to champion such awesomeness without noting how the vast majority of people in similar situations can’t follow in their e-footsteps. To run a successful IndieGogo campaign, you must be web-savvy, social, and enjoy a certain socioeconomic status. Most people who are raped and beaten don’t have the financial, artistic, and emotional means to launch similar campaigns, whether that’s because their assailant is still a part of their lives, or because they don’t have the time and resources (or know anyone with the time and resources) to, say, skate around for months.

“The surgery will allow me to chew all solid food, again,” Lydia told Fast Company via email. “I haven’t been able to chew, as most of us do, for well over a year, so far. I’m envisioning, in this very moment, a simple arugula salad with lemon, a fine olive oil, coarse sea salt and fresh pepper. After the surgery, this exquisitely basic food is mine to enjoy fully.”

That sounds like a delicious plan — and we certainly hope she gets the help she needs — but let’s also remember that not everyone’s recovery can be crowdsourced. Fast Company is correct in saying Jacob is “offering a chance for donors to share in a modern kind of social justice,” but how can we make sure that millennials (or anyone) influenced by this type of “modern social justice” don’t ignore those with less agency?

How Indiegogo Turns Tragic Stories Like Lydia Tillman’s Into Interactive Social Justice
[Fast Company]

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