In a vast and united show of support of veterans and military families, nearly every major studio, broadcast and cable network, talent agency and guild in the entertainment industry are working with non-profit organizations to launch a campaign called "Got Your 6" that will help veterans translate their skills to their domestic lives.
Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces initiative, the campaign targets six pillars — jobs, education, health, housing, family and leadership, and includes specific goals in each area. (See below.)
The name comes from the military expression "Got your six," which means, "I’ve got your back, and you’ve got mine." The six o’clock position or “six” is located at the rear of a military formation.
"We want to change the conversation in America so veterans are seen as leaders and civic assets," said Chris Marvin, a former Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot who was wounded while serving in Afghanistan and is the managing director of Got Your 6. "In the course of the
last 10 years we have not had a really great answer to the question: What can civilians do to share in the sacrifices, or show their appreciation in a meaningful way?"
More than one million service members will return from civilian life in the next five years.
The campaign will encourage hiring veterans, more nuanced portrayals of soldiers and veterans in TV and movie scripts, and educating civilians about how they can serve domestically — perhaps by donating blood or volunteering with children. Alec Baldwin, Michael Douglas and Tom Hanks are among stars who will take part in public service announcements.
The campaign emerged from a veterans working group convened by the Clinton Global Initiative. Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the first senator to back the program, and "6" logo lapel pins were given this week to every member of Congress.
"The entertainment industry captures our imaginations, opens our eyes and touches our hearts, and I’m proud to work with them on our Joining Forces initiative,” the first lady said. "By sharing the stories of strength and resilience that define our military families, we can motivate even more Americans to honor these courageous individuals in new ways."
"On behalf of the entire entertainment industry, we are proud to be engaging with our veterans through the Got Your 6 campaign," said Ron Meyer, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
Industry partners in the campaign include A+E Networks, ABC, Bad Robot Productions, Creative Artists Agency, CBS Corporation, the Directors Guild of America, Entertainment Industries Council, Entertainment Industry Foundation, Fox Audience Strategy, foursquare, Funny or Die, HBO, International Creative Management, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Producers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, Shine America, Showtime, Sony Pictures Entertainment, United Talent Agency, Viacom Media Networks, Warner Bros., William Morris Endeavor, and Writers Guild of America West.
Marvin, the managing director of Got Your 6, is the director of Civilian-Military Partnerships for ServiceNation, a campaign of Be The Change, Inc. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is the coordinator and fiduciary agent of Got Your 6.
More detail on each of the six pillars, as described by Got Your 6:
Jobs: Hiring Our Heroes - In coordination with the Got Your 6 campaign, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program will engage the business community in a campaign to hire 500,000 veterans and military spouses by December 2014.
Education: Transitioning through Education – In coordination with the Got Your 6 campaign, Student Veterans of America, the Pat Tillman Foundation, and their partners will collect pledges from 500 colleges and universities to offer supportive veteran-specific resources, programs and policies by June 2014.
Health: De-mystifying PTSD – In coordination with the Got Your 6 campaign, Give an Hour and its partners will lead a program to educate 100,000 graduate students in mental health disciplines on the unique issues of veterans and military families.
Housing: Ending Veteran Homelessness – In coordination with the Got Your 6 campaign, the 100,000 Homes Campaign and its partners, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and over 120 participating communities, are leading an effort to house 10,000 chronically homeless veterans by July 2014.
Family: Strengthening Military Families – In coordination with the Got Your 6 campaign, Blue Star Families, the Military Child Education Coalition, and their partners will provide reintegration tools and training to 300,000 military families and 100,000 primary and secondary school educators by December 2014.
Leadership: Continuing the Mission of Service – In coordination with the Got Your 6 campaign, The Mission Continues, Team Rubicon, and their partners will engage veterans and military family members in 1.5 million hours of volunteer service in communities nationwide by July 2013.