By Adam Searing, North Carolina Justice Center
It’s been a busy start to the year with the Affordable Care Act’s implementation playing out around the country. In many states the most contentious issue has been whether to accept federal money to cover more people with Medicaid. Other issues from childcare to paid sick days are in play as well. In the midst of all this activity I’ve had the enormous privilege of continuing our ongoing work with our friends here at CCF and traveling to even more Kidswell and Finishline groups around the country who are interested in using video in new ways in their work.
Showing my fellow advocates how easy it is to use an iMac and basic quality video equipment to make high-impact short videos that complement all the other work we do is really fun. Just as rewarding has been seeing some of the recent videos being produced by the different Kidswell and Finishline groups my colleague Adam Linker and I have gotten to know. There have been some really great ones I’ve seen in the last few months that are worth sharing.
First, I was blown away by Barbara Munoz of Voices for Utah’s Children’s very first video she created a couple weeks ago to support a policy effort around improving the availability of quality child care. The clip introduces a number of engaging, successful kids who have benefited enormously from quality early education programs. Both technically and in its subject matter it is wonderfully put together and is a great complement to all the other work Voices for Utah’s Children is doing on this issue. And, as Barbara reminded me, she isn’t even a fan of using a Macintosh!
Then, in Texas, Texans Care for Children put together one of the best personal stories I have ever seen introducing viewers to a mother with serious chronic health issues whose life would no doubt be entirely different if Texas turned around and accepted federal money to expand Medicaid coverage. This compelling video shows the power of personal storytelling and the public and policymakers in Texas would do well to listen. In this same category of engaging storytelling, the amazing people at Kidswell Florida and Florida Chain created yet another great video piece highlighting a parent speaking out about how a Medicaid expansion in Florida would help her family. Looks like Florida Governor Rick Scott was listening when he decided to extend Medicaid in Florida last week.
And, after a quick call last week to me from Gerard Matthews at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families for a reminder on some video software commands, I was pleasantly surprised to see a short video we quickly reposted to our own blog: A fantastic compilation of Republican Governors talking about the reasons they had decided to accept the federal money to cover more people in their own states under Medicaid. For all of us in states that haven’t yet decided to cover more people, this was a welcome effort. And speaking of Medicaid, a couple of months ago a very ambitious clip came out from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty called Medicaid Rocks! that featured a catchy soundtrack and some inspired dancing outside (of course) in some of the most beautiful areas of the state. That one is at over a couple thousand views and counting – an amazing success in our world where advocates rarely shoot video of singing cats and stratosphere-high balloon jumps!
Finally, last month the dedicated folks at the Community Service Society of New York posted a great video highlighting a recent successful rally pushing for paid sick days for low-wage workers to care for their families. While a little lower key than “Medicaid Rocks!,” this is a great way to show our fellow partners and funders what an amazingly successful rally around an issue we all care about looks like and I am sure that CSSNY generated a great deal of goodwill and positive feedback about their work at putting such a well-attended and inspiring rally together.
Seeing what many Kidswell and Finishline groups are doing with new video equipment and training makes me really proud to work with CCF on this project. Ultimately as advocates we use all of our skills every day to try and bring the perspective and the stories of the families and children we serve to the public and policymakers. Sometimes this can be an enormously frustrating task. While video isn’t the answer to every strategy question, it is a very useful new tool Kidswell and Finishline groups are obviously using to good effect.
Thanks to Atlantic Philanthropies (Kidswell) and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Finishline) for making this video project possible.