A new public service announcement from Tel Aviv, Israel in which disabled luminaries highlight the importance of putting on a mask has gone viral.
In the video, four disabled adults – some missing limbs – despite their significant physical challenges put on a mask and tell the audience: “Don’t give us any excuses. If I can put on a mask, so can you.”
One even puts the mask on using her foot.
The video was spearheaded by Paralympic gold medalist Noam Gershony and ad maker Stephan Miller of 202 Strategies. It features Jessica Cox, who was born without arms; Beza Nebeva, who was born blind; Ziv Shilon, who lost an arm in the line of duty serving in the military; and Carmel Yogev, who lost her lower arm and hand due to a bacterial infection contracted as a child.
Gershony is an wheelchair tennis player who represented Israel in the Paralympics in London in 2012. He lost his ability to walk in a helicopter crash while serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. He has since committed himself to activism, fighting for disability rights ad emergency rescue services. He also works as a motivational speaker.
COVID-19 inspired Gershony to team up with Miller.
“We saw the numbers of infected people continue to rise all over the world and we felt that we were becoming a bit numb to the numbers. Behind every number is a person, a friend, a family member, a loved one,” said Gershony.
The video has already gone viral, garnering over 2 million views on Twitter and Facebook – without any paid promotion.
“Both in the US and in Israel, too many people aren’t wearing face masks when they easily could,” said Miller. Both nations are experiencing surges in COVID-19. In recent days, Israel’s number of infections has skyrocketed to 1,100 a day, which is twice the peak the Jewish state saw during its initial outbreak in the spring. Meanwhile, in the United States, new regions such as Arizona and Texas are seeing explosive rates of infection.
“Too many people give excuses. The incredible people in this ad really make it clear – there is no good excuse,” Miller added.
The team hopes that the perseverance of disabled people to put on a mask despite immense challenges will help public health.
“If we can convince a few more people to wear a face mask – even just one person who could have infected his or her parents, grandparents, family or friends,” said Gershony. “Then the video can actually save lives.”
You can watch the full PSA below:
— noam gershony נועם גרשוני (@NoamGershony) June 24, 2020