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Diversity Through A Camera

Diversity Through A Camera

December 02, 2010
Pulkit Datta

Human rights org Breakthrough presents an exciting video contest on diversity; start a dialogue and win prizes.

Express yourself and take a stand. That is the mantra of the human rights organization Breakthrough, which is currently running a video contest aiming to spark dialogue on diversity in the United States. Based in India and the U.S, Breakthrough uses the power of media to address important global issues such as violence against women, HIV/AIDS, sexuality, and immigrant rights and social justice. Their latest campaign, called ‘I Am This Land,’ calls on anyone and everyone in the U.S. with a camera and a vision to express their take on diversity, whether it’s a celebration or raising awareness about a particular aspect of it. The only condition is that the video must incorporate the phrase ‘I Am This Land’ in some way. It’s as simple as that.

The founder, president and CEO of Breakthrough, Mallika Dutt, says this dialogue on diversity is as necessary now than ever. “This is an opportunity for individuals to present their ideas, their vision, and their values of what being in America is all about. I Am This Land provides the opportunity to reclaim and embrace diversity,” Dutt says. And with support from such celebrities as actor Michael Urie (of ABC’s Ugly Betty) and singer Sharon Jones (of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings), this video contest seems to be hitting all the right notes. Crissy Spivey, the producer of I Am This Land competition and Web Producer for Breakthrough, highlights the overall goal of the campaign is to “to bring communities together, whether it’s a team working on a video, friends at school, or it’s someone watching and voting on entries at home that feel like they have learned something.”

Breakthrough has consistently employed innovative methods to raise awareness on a variety of issues. “We have always used creative forms like video games, animations, documentaries, music videos and more to start conversations and bring together communities,” says Spivey. Their most successful and widespread media campaign in India is called ‘Bell Bajao’ (Ring the Bell), a call to end domestic violence. With I Am This Land, Breakthrough is calling out to people to express their own thoughts on diversity, using media. Videos of all genres are welcome and uploaded videos will then be viewed, discussed and rated by fans across the country.

If you needed any more incentive to be part of this, besides launching your own dialogues on diversity, then there are plenty of prizes attached for the best-rated videos, including an appetizing $2,500 cash prize for the top winner. Videos will be judged by an array of high-profile personalities from the worlds of music, television, film, publishing and online media. And if making videos isn’t your thing, then you can join the debate on Twitter too – follow @breakthrough and with the hashtag share your meaning of diversity. Your entry here can win prizes too.

The I Am This Land entries – both videos and tweets – will be accepted until January 7, 2011. So dust off that camera and tell your story to become part of this very important celebration of diversity. And the one thing every video entry must be able to do, according to Spivey, is “Give us goosebumps!”

For full details, rules and prizes, visit

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