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How WITNESS unites creators and activists around the globe

Rachel Goldberg
November 20, 2017 by Rachel Goldberg Alum

WITNESS knew the power of videos before almost anyone. Their story begins in Los Angeles in 1991, during what would become a pivotal civil rights moment in U.S. history. A man named George Holliday observed the beating of an African American man, Rodney King, by police officers — and George decided to capture the event on his newly bought camcorder.

That sparked WITNESS, a non-profit that’s built upon recognizing the power of images. As technology becomes more and more accessible, they’ve focused on the increasing importance of video, and on leveraging videos as an essential tool in the fight for human rights.


There’s a natural cohesion between WITNESS and Vimeo. We both wholeheartedly believe in the power of videos, and those who capture and share their stories. That’s why we’ve chatted with them about Capturing Hate, a project that uses video to shed light on anti-trans violence. And it’s why their Executive Director, Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, shared her insights into the special role creators have in progressing human rights today. This time, they’re getting to the heart of the truly global impact of videos — and how one story can create ripples and lessons across borders.


Another important detail: the people behind WITNESS are some of the most dedicated, driven, and big-hearted people you could meet. Without a doubt, they’ve become my favorite non-profit over the past few years. Spend 10 minutes chatting with anyone involved with their work, and you’ll leave wholly inspired and ready to act. In our most recent conversation, they explore an incident of police brutality in Brazil, and how that can shape tactics, policies, and advocacy work for activists facing human rights abuses across the world. 


Watch our Q&A above, explore all the incredible work WITNESS is doing, and support the stories of activists and creators around the globe who risk their lives to share stories of human rights abuses, and create change.


This month, we’re talking with brands and organizations that leverage their talents behind the camera to shift our perspectives and inspire action. Peep all our Videos for Good interviews now.

4 Comments

LUIS A DIAZ

There's a grammatical error in "...and how that can shapes tactics,..." Change "shapes" to "shape".
Nice article/video, by the way.

Aberrant Lawyer

Is it possible you could help make a video? I am here in L. A. to document the differences in 29 P.3d 597 and 157 P.3d 143. It is a murder case which could expose Oklahoma's political corruption and help us explain the innocence of Richard Glossip who is set to be executed in Oklahoma possibly as early as Feb 10 2018. This will be the 4th time the State of Oklahoma will try to execute Ricky. He is innocent. I know this because I was not only Richard Glossip's first trial lawyer but I was also the trial lawyer for the real mastermind behind this murder.

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