Peter Gabriel, Rodrigo y Gabriela, David Crosby and Graham Nash Rock Roseland at the WITNESS Gala Celebrating the Video-For-Change Revolution
NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Music legend and human rights advocate Peter Gabriel hosted the 7th Annual Focus for Change benefit dinner and concert at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC Thursday evening for WITNESS, the international human rights organization.
The evening was a celebration of citizen activists from around the world, who are fueling revolutionary human rights change with the use of video, technology and social media.
“In this new world, video is no longer an optional tool for human rights activists. It is now an essential component to an effective campaign,” said Peter Gabriel, Co-founder of WITNESS.
Special guest Bassem Samir, executive director of one of WITNESS’ campaign partners the Egyptian Democratic Academy (EDA), shared his experiences with a room full of supporters about how video, mobile phones and social media helped the world witness the revolution, and are now being used to pave the way for a new Egypt.
“Throughout Egypt, we need to create our own future, not rely on others to create it for us,” said Bassem Samir, Executive Director of EDA. “WITNESS is helping us achieve this. I feel very lucky to be part of this moment in history.”
While supporters celebrated the opportunities resulting from video, technology and social media being used to create monumental change, especially in the Arab world, WITNESS also addressed the challenges that come with cameras literally being used everywhere. Cameras Everywhere was the theme of the evening’s gala and the name of the organization’s newest initiative, which aims to ensure that this new wave of tech-savvy citizen activists are able to use these tools as safely and effectively as possible.
“Social media and video sharing sites are the new public squares of activism, and companies that run these spaces have a responsibility to ensure their tools do NO harm and serve the cause of freedom of expression,” said Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, Executive Director of WITNESS.
Performances were given by Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela and Rock ‘n’ Roll legends David Crosby and Graham Nash, who sang “Teach Your Children” and “Chicago,” as well as other classics dedicated to the millions of people around the world joining the Video-for-Change Revolution.
Photos available: http://www.flickr.com/photos/humanrights/sets/72157627763314393/#
Videos available: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3B2F8187EDCA276E
WITNESS is a global human rights organization that is a leader in the use of video advocacy as a tool for human rights change, by placing visual evidence, powerful stories and ways to act in front of decision-makers who can make a difference. Co-founded in 1992 by musician Peter Gabriel, WITNESS has worked with and trained hundreds of partner organizations and thousands of human rights activists in over 80 countries around the world. Videos produced through these collaborations have created positive human rights change, such as shedding light on the systemic repression of ethnic minorities in Burma, aiding the prosecution of recruiters of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and rallying support for the first law protecting the elderly from abuse in the United States. www.witness.org
About Cameras Everywhere
WITNESS’ Cameras Everywhere initiative works to ensure that the millions of people turning to video for human rights can do so safely and effectively. The potential presence of cameras in every concerned citizen’s hand creates powerful opportunities for the future of human rights advocacy. Through the new initiative, WITNESS will fill an enormous need by influencing both key stakeholders and the broader public around the use of ubiquitous video and promoting collaborative solutions to powerful opportunities and unprecedented challenges. www.witness.org/cameras-everywhere