Students host livestream to support Black Lives Matter movement

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ethan Godwin | Daily Texan Staff

In the spring, Joseph Horak’s design class started the same way every day. His professor, Honoria Starbuck, would greet them by saying, “Good morning, fellow creatives.”

Horak, an arts and entertainment technologies sophomore, said he drew inspiration from the phrase to create a platform for change.

Fellow Creatives was founded by Horak and now includes 15 other arts and entertainment technologies students. The group coordinated and broadcasted their first live telethon on June 7 to raise money for Black Visions Collective, a nonprofit in Minnesota promoting Black freedom from oppression. 

Horak said Fellow Creatives’s goal with the broadcast is to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I think a lot of people are feeling really helpless right now because it’s hard to make a difference,” Horak said. “I think everyone’s just trying to find out how they can do their part.”

The broadcast lasted 12 hours, from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Horak said Fellow Creatives raised $2,600, surpassing their original goal of $100 by a wide margin.

“We wanted an achievable goal so we didn’t set the bar too high, but we ended up raising $100 in the first 20 minutes which blew our minds,” Horak said.

Throughout the broadcast, Horak said 71 people donated and viewership fluctuated between 20 to 60 people at any given time.  

The broadcast was streamed through Twitch and included 10 different art and video game segments, said Connor Blankenship, an arts and entertainment technologies sophomore.

“(Joseph’s) idea gave us a reason to stream,” said Alyssa Diaz, arts and entertainment technologies sophomore. “Yes, (the stream) is for fun, but it’s also to help a good cause and do something bigger than ourselves.” 

Each video game segment included six Fellow Creative participants playing and commentating during games such as “Mario Kart,” “Animal Crossing” and “Terraria”.

The two kinds of art segments were called “Drawpile,” where the group took viewer suggestions and doodled together, and “Commissions,” where top donors made personal art requests.  

Diaz said one donor requested characters from the Nintendo game “Fire Emblem,” saying “end racism.”

“We wanted to make sure we included both video games and art in the broadcast because they’re both part of what we do as a major,” Diaz said.  

Horak said besides a few minor technical issues at the beginning of the broadcast, such as linking the games to the livestreaming feed, it ran smoothly overall. 

“We really want to build up a fan base,” Blankenship said. “We want our viewers to give us constructive criticism about what segments they like and don’t like so we can provide the best viewership experience for them.”

Horak and Blankenship said they plan to continue their telethons on a biweekly basis and donate to charities that support the Black Lives Matter movement. 

On June 28, Fellow Creatives streamed a second telethon and raised $1,144. All donations will go to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, a nonprofit in California focusing on Black transgender rights.  

“When you share (posts) on your Instagram story or talk to family members, those are good things, but I think it’s important to take it one step further,” Blankenship said. “We can always be doing more.”