In many ways the “I’m with Phil” story is about much more than a single incident involving a town and a group of people who share the same name. There is a universality to the idea of the town in the immediate aftermath of the tornado, of strangers helping others in the moments that follow. In times of need, people help people, it's as simple as that.
Still, the way that the Phil Campbells tried to help the town of Phil Campbell will always be unique in the annals of Good Samaritanism, even the ideas and themes are familiar to everyone. Which got us thinking about what kind of website we would like to have to promote I'm with Phil. Is it possible, we asked ourselves, to inspire more people to get involved in their communities -- or any community, really -- the way that the Phil Campbells got involved?
We wrote up a few notes to try to explain this website, what this weird little movement of ours could mean.
This site is about Community. The town of Phil Campbell proved its tight community bonds by refusing to give up after the tornado struck in April of 2011. By working together, they’ve come a long way in recovering from the devastation (though a lot still needs to be done). What’s more, the Phil Campbells originally were just a random an odd assortment of individuals, strangers to each other, but now they are in many ways a real community, albeit one separated by distance from each other and the town of Phil Campbell. In keeping with that, this website will post updates about everyone involved in the “I’m with Phil” community.
This site is about News and Information. Here we go a little beyond the original “I’m with Phil” story, because it seems like every week there’s another natural disaster or tragedy striking small towns and cities around the world. What’s more, not every dollar should go straight to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, two international organizations that always need time to get boots on the ground before they can help. Social media is increasingly proving that there are sometimes faster, more efficient people help each other in moments of crisis. Whenever there’s another natural disaster or some other crisis, we’ll try to post some information about the best ways you can help.
This site is about Resilience and Innovation. We’ll be writing about other communities around the world that have survived, in some ways even thrived, in the aftermath of tragedy. And since “I’m with Phil” was an innovative idea in itself, we’ll be sharing whatever interesting, quirky, and/or sincere news out there we find in which people have had turned crisis into opportunity, like the regional group Keep Volunteering out of Huntsville, or the national and international groups Transition Networks, Do Something, or the Movember moustache project.
This site is about Awareness, Fundraising, and – of course! -- the I’m with Phil film. We wouldn’t be social-cause enthusiasts if we didn’t promote our own film! Donate here! Join us and spread the word here and here! When all is said and done I’m with Phil will give 70% of its net profits back to the town of Phil Campbell, Alabama.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for all your support!