YouTube might be one of the only communities on earth more eccentric than Silicon Valley. You can find videos of cats pretending to be people, people pretending to be cats, and whatever the hell this is. That said, the site has been home to some incredibly moving and world changing content.
While most of us immediately think of videos like the pepper spraying of students protesting at UC Davis and the numerous videos capturing the police shootings of people like Oscar Grant when we think of YouTube serving as a platform for social change, the site is also home to a very strong community of everyday creators using their fame to positively impact communities.
In an effort to support these creators already making a difference, YouTube is dedicating one million dollars to finance videos that serve a social good but have higher production values as part of a new global program called Creators for Change.
Leading the charge are six YouTube celebrities — Hamza Arshad, Barış Özcan, Omar Hussein, Nilam Farooq, Abdel en Vrai, and Natalie Tran. These powerful voices are tackling issues including the representation of Asians in media and the issues facing teenagers growing up in challenging urban environments. These six will be the first official Creators for Change, but YouTube is looking to expand the program. The new ambassadors are tasked with staying on the lookout for people making a big difference with their webcams.
YouTube is working with NGOs, schools, and media companies around the world to launch more local programs to bridge the gap between bits and atoms. Creators will also be holding new programs at YouTube spaces around the world over the course of the year.
Also notable is a $2 million fund established by Google.org to support groups working to promote strong diverse communities. In the past, Google.org has put forward $5 million to support social justice innovators, $20 million to improve accessibility for people living with disabilities, and $40 million to fuel the growth of computer science eduction in K-12 classrooms.
One of the things that makes YouTube special is how it’s made heroes out of some of the most relatable people. Inspiring people like Natalie Tran and Humza Arshad all started with zero followers and zero views, but their reach has grown to touch millions. No matter who you are, you can find somebody that speaks to you on the site, and if you can’t, the upload button is simply a click away.
If you’re looking for some inspiration of how you might someday become a YouTube Creator for Change, here are selected videos from some of the new creators.