Matthew Smith of Bend, Oregon, for his exceptional video “Life Should Be Free,” which creatively shows the links between conflict minerals used in our cell phones and the war in Congo, the deadliest since World War II. As the winner of the Come Clean 4 Congo video contest, launched in May by Enough and YouTube, Smith and a friend will be VIPs at the Hollywood Film Festival in Los Angeles this fall.
The idea for the video, says Smith, came from a recent trip to the Congo where he saw first hand the tragic impact that conflict minerals have on the Congolese people. He created the video with a small team of volunteers committed to making a meaningful impact in the Congo. "We entered this contest because we have all been moved by the suffering in the Congo,” said Smith. “We want to use our gifts and creativity to help raise awareness and bring hope to the people in Congo."
"Life Should Be Free" will be screened at a human rights symposium at the ArcLight Hollywood Cinemas. Actress Sonya Walger from ABC’s "Lost," and Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics at YouTube, will present an award to Smith at the symposium, which will feature a panel of expert speakers to address the issue of violence against women in Congo.
The Come Clean 4 Congo video contest was the first installment in YouTube’s new Videos for Change program, and YouTube’s Steve Grove commended the winner for the example he set. "We’re extremely pleased with the caliber of submissions that the contest received," said Grove. "We hope that Matthew Smith’s entry will inspire other YouTube users to use their cameras to shine a light on issues that are underexposed." Check out all of the submissions on Enough’s YouTube channel.
The video contest is part of Enough’s RAISE Hope for Congo campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the crisis in the Congo and empower the women and girls who continue to be targets of horrific sexual violence in that country.