Social Justice in Motion: Video Training Offers Organizers an Engaging Way to Tell a Story

From sharing the perspectives of the children of immigrants to calling out the Speaker of the House for his opposition to a proposed increase of the federal minimum wage, a group of a dozen emerging leaders and organizers from across the country gathered in Seattle last week to learn new ways to tell a story.

The Alliance’s week-long Advocacy Video Workshop showed participants new ways to succinctly engage an audience using the power of multimedia to further our advocacy for social justice. Workshop instructor and Alliance Board member Gary Delgado said he was impressed with this workshop’s crop of participants, who hailed from Idaho, Washington, Colorado and California.

“The goal is to help us augment our organizing tactics by taking the initiative in framing our narrative,” Delgado said. “Staff and leaders did a great job in applying basic techniques to produce crisp, clean and — most importantly — SHORT video pieces highlighting progressive messages in healthcare and comprehensive immigration reform.”

The workshop helped sharpen participants’ ability to critique a variety of videos and identify the techniques these videos utilized. Analyses focused on a variety of criteria and prompted participants to identify various components that may comprise an effective video, including: emotional content, cultural capital, message, humor, length, viral potential, audience, and call to action.

“Those intense days trained us for the actual life as a multimedia organizer — how to be fast and timely, how to deal with imperfections, how to be aware of cultural capital and how to use it,” said Boris Popovic, organizer for the Main Street Alliance of Washington. “Yes, technical knowledge is very important, but what is even more important is the thought that goes into it. It’s an art and a science. Think about the possibilities that come when you can quickly tell your stories with motion pictures.”

Participants were then tasked with producing videos of their own.

The workshop is another way the Alliance works to develop talent across the country to find new ways to advocate to address economic, racial, and social inequities.

As Alliance Senior Policy Associate, I got the chance to get away from my desk and participate in the training myself. The experience changed the way I approach my work, forcing me to get out of my comfort zone of wonky research and policyspeak and think about how to communicate our message in fresh, edgy, and entertaining ways. It’s a lot more difficult than it looks!

Here is one of the videos my team produced from the training. Tell us what you think!