Here’s to 2012 as a meaningful, impactful year and to video becoming an even better human rights tool!
I want to thank you for 2011. Thank You! For the difference that you made, and for inspiring others to do the same. Each one of you helped WITNESS accomplish so much in the past year.
We were able to highlight others’ videos and stories more. More stories were told and heard, invisible violations made visible so they could not be ignored and violators held accountable. Activists were trained and supported, tactics and tools shared with a larger number of people than ever before, campaigns launched and action catalyzed, and as a result, commitments made by those who can change things.
2011 was the year of video. From the beautifully told and shot video of young climate change activist Nelson Kanuk, to Antonieta’s passionate plea to resist forced evictions in Rio, to the Oyela Irene’s personal story, to the grainy videos or testimonies shot or live streamed during protests in Cairo or in Zuccotti Park, to development of the SecureSmartCam app with the Guardian Project.
There are times that people ask me if WITNESS does not do “too many things” – but while we need to stay focused and have the resources to reach our goals, looking back at 2011 I believe that the breadth and depth of our commitments and work is an enormous asset and that our campaigns, trainings, tools, tactics and leadership activities all feed each other in fueling video as a premiere human rights tool. Through these activities we engage and learn from the world around us – what works and what doesn’t and how we can be more effective and have a bigger impact.
In the past year – WITNESS has looked outward more. We’ve adapted to the landscape better. We’ve engaged with groups, networks, and individuals. We’ve become nimbler and scrappier. We’ve participated in and facilitated networks of community organizers, human rights defenders, bloggers, citizens standing up for justice. We’ve made mistakes and we’ve done things right – we’ve learned and we will apply those learnings to everything we do in this coming year.
Change is constant. And it is a challenge for any organization to respond to that reality. We need to stay focused and use our resources optimally but we also need to be able to take advantage of and learn from what’s happening around us, and take risks. 2012 presents an incredible opportunity for WITNESS to expand its impact. But the only way we will get that balance right is to trust our guts, to continue to experiment with video innovation, to be mindful and disciplined in assessing what works and what doesn’t and to be outward facing and remain closely linked to our partners.
We can make video an even better human rights tool in the coming year and we can empower more people to use it well to document and end human rights violations. We turn to you again, to help us accomplish those goals.
Here’s to all of you for your support and here’s to all of us in the coming year taking advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead of us to fight for human rights with video.
Happy New Year!