Engaging An Audience Through Online Communities

Using the Internet to engage online communities through social media is a great way to collect quantitative information about topics, develop new angles, and even find new audiences.

The old Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico before it was demolished. (Photo by K. Charles Moore)

The old TGRCNM before it was demolished. (Photo by K. Charles Moore)

Feedback over the Internet is often times negative but if you give an individual a voice with a guise, the truth can become apparent. Many may say this is quite the contrary and that the Internet is full of dishonesty. People become more honest over the Internet and according to Jeff Hancock dishonesty is in human nature, especially in relationships with others. For instance in this TED Talk, The Future of Lying, Hancock references studies based on online resumes, Facebook personalities, online dating, and compared them with the day-to-day lies of an individual. Hancock states that in much more instances online communication is more honest than face-to-face.

This is why it is important to use the Internet to engage and collect feedback from individuals based upon their knowledge or opinions. Throughout this last week, surveys and stories were conducted on transgender awareness. These stories and surveys were shared on the Internet and gained responses.

The Story Intro of Being Gender from Kevin Charles Moore on Vimeo.

A story with a video to the intro of a documentary was shared along with an article about the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico or TGRCNM. This story received eight shares from the site posted and 23 likes, with one reader expressing excitement for the actual story after viewing the intro clip.

Transgender Awareness Survey - Conducted by K. Charles Moore

Transgender Awareness Survey – Conducted by K. Charles Moore

The next week a post to Reddit along with a survey, that was also posted to Twitter and Facebook, requested users to answer three questions about transgender awareness. The first assumption was to post directly to transgender subReddits but this generated one response, that posting in a transgender subReddit would generate bias responses. This led the post to be created under a subReddit for politics and it gained much more responses. Reponses came from transgender individuals and some who might have been unsure about what being transgender means. One such responder asking, “What are transgender rights?”

Reddit Response to Transgender Awareness

Reddit Response to Transgender Awareness

With the initial posts the target audience was the community directly affected, but without engagement other audiences became the focus. Understanding an audience through engagement helps develop a new angle and answers the question, whom should the story really be affecting? In the case of transgender awareness much of the transgender community is already aware of its struggles, it is the other social communities that are unaware.

The Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico Continues to Serve the Local Transgender Community

For more than two years the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico or TGRCNM has offered dedicated service for New Mexico’s transgender community, this requires the center to assist, educate, and advocate for the transgender populace to achieve equality.

The Story Intro of Being Gender from Kevin Charles Moore on Vimeo.

At the heart of the TGRCNM is Executive Director Adrien Lawyer, who co-founded the center with Zane Stephens. Lawyer is a transgender man, spouse, and father on the forefront of the equality movement for transgender communities not just in New Mexico, but also all over the United States. Lawyer has been a part of the ACLU’s All Families Matter coalition, known now as Why Marriage Matters New Mexico and sits on the board of directors for Equality New Mexico.

New Mexico has had struggles in the past with understanding transgender rights and listening to the voice expressed by that of the transgender individual. Damian Garcia, a transgender teen that identifies as male, also a senior at St. Pius X High School was denied the right to wear the traditional gowns reserved for males. Garcia was given two options: wear the white gown all graduating females wear, or not participate in the commencement. Lawyer, in providing and acting on equality is also a part of groups that have been suggesting policies to Albuquerque schools in support of transgender rights of students and staff.

Being Gender

Being Gender (Photo by K. Charles Moore)

Before getting a physical location, the center primarily existed online as a support and outreach. This made many things the center has now almost impossible, but since then the center has began to offer much more in the form of a non-profit organization. Some of the services offered are a place to rest, someone to talk with, and a safe place to be your true self. Many transgender individuals do not receive acceptance from family and friends or are afraid to come out due to social stigmas about being transgender. TGRCNM offers acceptance, education, help, and referrals. The center also engages in social events around the communities with many partners and organizations throughout New Mexico to promote equality.

To get involved or to learn more about continuing transgender equality around New Mexico, there are many ways to aid TGRCNM, donations and volunteers are always needed.

Local Neighborhood Bakery Holds the Key to Success

Local neighborhood bakery featured on the Food Network, Golden Crown Panaderia has found success for more than 25 years by keeping it simple and being happy.

Local Neighborhood Bakery Holds the Key to Success from Kevin Charles Moore on Vimeo.

The Golden Crown Panaderia has been supplying the local community with an old-fashioned approach to baked goods and business practices. This approach has been successful mainly in part to the inviting environment created by the father and son duo, Pratt Morales and son Christopher Morales. For over 25 years this small bakery has been supplying much of Albuquerque with original breads and pastries. However not everything is old-fashioned about this neighborhood bakery.

Latte Art by Christopher Morales - Golden Crown Panaderia (Photo by K. Charles Moore/ Full Sail University)

Latte Art by Christopher Morales – Golden Crown Panaderia (Photo by K. Charles Moore/ Full Sail University)

While many of the practices and products have not changed, it is the latte art and indoor garden that has given the Golden Crown Panaderia a modern point. Christopher Morales has taken up a craft that visually express what he considers the perfect cup of coffee, by combining an espresso shot and steamed milk. This results in an authentic artistic decoration on the top of a latte. Christopher Morales also began the bakery’s one of a kind indoor garden. The garden often produces herbs and produce that the bakery uses for its baked goods and other food items.

When asked about the goal for the bakery Christopher Morales says, “To be honest the ultimate goal is to be able to enjoy our lives.”

Continuing, Morales explains that there is no wish to expand or become a corporation. The intention for the bakery is to create great food and a good atmosphere, but also to enjoy what they do for a living. Morales described how easy it is to get overwhelmed in the restaurant industry, and says that when this occurs the interaction with the customer is lost.

“Every new customer that comes into the place, we get to hear their story,” Morales illustrates while sharing a few examples.

The human element is what Morales enjoys the most about his career, and he thinks of the employees as family, ensuring that the staff continues to enjoy the work they do at the bakery. This old-fashioned bakery has a modern touch and greets customers with a warm hospitality, finding success through what brings them happiness.

The Elephant’s Trumpet: A Story of a Loving Mother and the Future of a Herd

The love of family along with the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo is helping one mother elephant preserve her species that has become endangered due to habitat loss and the extreme poaching for ivory tusks.

The Elephant’s Trumpet: A Story of a Loving Mother and the Future of a Herd from Kevin Charles Moore on Vimeo.

Rozie is an Asian elephant that was born to the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo in 1993 for the purpose of maintaining the species. Since then Rozie has mothered two of her own offspring and is helping ensure a future for the Asian elephant species, not just a memory.

Currently the BioPark has seven Asian elephants two of them being young males and five females counting the newest edition, Rozie’s very young calf Jazmine. The park is one of the few United States facilities to have success in breeding and raising elephants in captivity. This is very beneficial to maintaining the species since the Asian elephant population is constantly threatened by human activities in the wild.

The ABQ BioPark Zoo At A Glance. Click to Enhance. (ABQ BioPark Zoo Brochure Map)

The ABQ BioPark Zoo At A Glance. Click to Enhance. (ABQ BioPark Zoo Brochure Map)

Before Rozie’s birth the park didn’t have what it has today in the herd. Female Asian elephants are very social and often form groups that become herds; these groups are lead by the matriarch. The matriarch is the oldest female of the group. By creating the herd the park is able to allow the elephants to have the natural dynamic and social structure seen in the wild. This also helps the zookeepers understand and care for the elephant’s physical and psychological wellbeing.

Currently there are five species of elephants that are endangered and other elephant species like the African elephant are vulnerable to this threat. The biggest threat to elephants in the wild is the shrinking habitat, poaching and illegal sale of ivory. The loss of habitat means elephants are living closer to human society and a struggle for food can cause the devastation of a farmer’s crop. This puts elephants at risk for retaliation from a farmer to insure crop loss or damage doesn’t happen again. The majority of the time elephants are poached specifically for the ivory in their tusks and then sold on illegal markets, aiding to the dwindling population. The United States Congress recognized this struggle in 1997 and introduced the Asian Elephant Conservation Act, which allows funding for the conservation of Asian elephants.

Baby Jazmine and her Grandmother Alice playing in the yard at the ABQ BioPark. (Photo by K. Charles Moore/ Full Sail University)

Baby Jazmine and her Grandmother Alice playing in the yard at the ABQ BioPark. (Photo by K. Charles Moore/ Full Sail University)

On February 11th, 2014 the Press Secretary for The White House released a fact sheet on the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. The goal is to establish principles for the United States to combat illegal wildlife trade and ban the commercial trade of elephant ivory. This is to ensure that the United States is not a contributing factor to the diminishing numbers of endangered species due to illegal trade or poaching.

Local Holocaust and Intolerance Museum Combats Hate Through Education

Hate and intolerance have been a part of an unfortunate world history and even current modern events. The Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico is helping Albuquerque and the world remember these injustices; in hopes to prevent future acts of hate and genocide.

Local Holocaust and Intolerance Museum Combats Hate Through Education from Kevin Charles Moore on Vimeo.

While hate and intolerance are words that seem ugly on their own, they can become something tragically worse. These words are actions that can become violent and damaging to everyone involved. Unfortunately these are words that are not out grown even though they are not words known to a new born. In a Tolerance for Teen’s factoid it states that, an individual is not born with hate for a whole group of people for any reason other than one’s own bias. But instead this form of hate is a learned behavior. Since this is a learned behavior it means hate and intolerance can be avoided.

The word “hate crime” wasn’t really in use until after World War II, in which a government attempted a racial genocide. The Holocaust was a period of time from January 30th 1933 until May 8th 1945. During this time more than six million Jews and five million others deemed as inferior by Hitler and the German Nazi regime were systematically exterminated. Some of the five million included homosexuals, mentally or physically impaired, Gypsies, religious groups and anyone who really opposed the Nazi regime. Even before the Holocaust there was the Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century by the Ottoman government. The Ottomans also attempted a systematic extermination, by forced deportations and massacres of the Armenians in what is now modern day Turkey.

Harold L. Folley, volunteer at the Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico in Albuquerque. (Photo by K. Charles Moore/ Full Sail University)

Harold L. Folley, volunteer at the Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico in Albuquerque. (Photo by K. Charles Moore/ Full Sail University)

Additionally the United States has also had moments of hate and intolerance, from slavery in the 17th to 19th centuries to modern intolerance of sexual orientation, race and religion. The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors some 1,007 known hate groups operating across the United States. In the 2012 statistics released by the FBI in the Offense Type by Bias Motivation report, race has the highest total offenses. The total offenses motivated by sexual orientation and religion combined do not even total the offenses committed on a race bias. While the majority of hate crimes in the United States are race motivated, the offender is mostly driven by the desire for excitement.

The Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico stands as a reminder that nothing good comes from intolerance and hate based on what a person is as opposed to who they are: a son, a mother, a daughter or even a father. While the museum is that reminder it promotes people to be the conduit of change against all forms of hate.