Where It Began

#Samehere Hero Origin Story

#Samehere Hero Origin Story

We often get this funny question about the hand signal you see woven throughout The Movement’s creative pieces: Why are the Celebrities, Practitioners, and people from around the world who are sharing their #SameHere🤙 Stories making the “hang loose” surfer sign? 


This sign that you see in our logos, and these pictures, is actually an ASL (American Sign Language) official sign. It’s accurately made by pointing your thumb at your chest, curling your three middle fingers like a fist, and extending your pinkie outwards toward the person you’re addressing. It means “same here” in ASL. It’s not the same hand gesture just described – with your thumb & pinkie out to the side instead, surfer dudes 😂.  Though we do love the concept of “hang loose,” that sign and the #SameHere sign are two very different signs!


Alliance Members Kim Barthel and Theo Fleury at a book signing for “Conversations with a Rattlesnake.”

The genesis of the sign’s usage ties back to a story one of our Alliance Members, NHL great, Theo Fleury, shared w our founder, Eric Kussin, when they first started talking about the formation of this Movement in July of ‘17.  A fan of Theo’s, when Theo shared his story of childhood trauma, publicly, through a book he wrote, looked Theo in the eyes at his first book signing & said nothing but “two powerful words” to him. 


When Theo recounted the story on one of their first calls together, Eric thought it was so meaningful and impactful, that he immediately envisioned a symbol that could be developed, to create a universal way to rally people globally around mental health battles, support & advocacy.  Eric looked up how to say these two powerful words that were spoken to Theo, in sign language. The gesture is meant to be a universal symbol, communicating (when in the context of a mental health conversation) – “I get you, same here, I’ve been through some/many of life’s challenges as well.” Check out our video, depicting this global vision, played to a song created by talented recording artist, Luke James Shaffer, “We’re All A Little Crazy.”  You can also read the story, from Luke’s perspective, of how he was contacted, and how he and his song became a formal and integral part of The Movement’s message.


Why can’t we rally the world around a universal sign? If not your story, you’ll be able to submit your #SameHere Photo from anywhere in the world (the more picturesque the backdrop, the better), to our site for display on our #SameHere Gallery Map, to show how a simple sign can bind us all by our common battles in life.  As members of The Alliance out in the community, YOU can help us get this unifying message out there!