NorthStarr Media Group’s Client: Equal Justice Society– The Equal Justice Society is transforming the nation’s consciousness on race through law, social science, and the arts.
NorthStarr Media Group’s Role: Director/Producer
NorthStarr’s Notes: The Equal Justice Society highlights poignant factors about their work and history. This is done by exploring the beginning of EJS. Various stories are told via interviews from those who played a role in the earlier years. These interviews provide great insight into how this non-profit came to be, as well as their impact.
THE START OF EJS (00:08-1:11)
The viewers learn how EJS came to be, as told in an interview with Professor Margaret M. Russell. This is an important element because there is always an interest in how organizations or companies started, especially those that have been around for over 16 years. (This video was produced in 2018). The motivating force behind a business and/or non-profit organization can give their audience a backstory of how and why an organization, such as EJS, was started. This section provides facts that some may not be privy to.
Following the linear storytelling, model is great for this video because it establishes the motiving force behind EJS. It shows the thought process of the founders and sets the tone for the video.
SUPREME COURT FIGHT (1:12-3:34)
Senior Attorney, Michael Harris, and the President and Co-Founder of the Equal Justice Society, Eva Paterson expound on their fight against the Supreme Court’s “Intent Doctrine”. At 1:20 in the video, it is evident that EJS is a brave and strong-willed organization, whose heart is for the betterment of people. An early reference to their work is impactful, as it sets the stage for the viewing audience to understand the types of issues EJS is willing to attack, as well as the tactics used.
EVA’S INFLUENCE (3:53-4:20)
The next section of this video provides a snapshot of the power of Eva’s words. We learn this from a story told by James M. Finberg. He tells of how Eva’s moving speech had a profound influence on Justice Anthony Kennedy as it pertains to “implicit bias”. These sound bites reveal the strong effect that EJS has had on this country. Many would never know that the progressive thinking of Eva Paterson and the Equal Justice Society has had an influence on the Supreme Court. Thus, it is wise to include this information in the video. The goal is to expose people to some of the impactful work that EJS has done throughout the years.
COMMUNICATION AS A TOOL (4:23-5:08)
Elaine Elinson, EJS Communication’s Consult (2001-2005) provides insight into the ways in which EJS uses communication to translate difficult concepts, ideas and provide insightful information to “everyday” people. Often times, legislation and/or laws are written in a language unfamiliar to those who may not be trained in Law. EJS uses communications as a deciphering tool, to help their audience understand how things can help or have a negative effect on them. Their organization has become a hub for defining some complex legal jargon. This is a great community resource. Their blog, for example, explains and breaks down information into digestible bits.
EJS’ INVOLVEMENT (5:49-6:39)
Arlene B. Mayerson, Directing Attorney for Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) discusses a case that dealt with the Antioch Unified School District. Their focus was on race and disabilities. It was their finding that minority students and/or students with disabilities were being either: suspended at a higher rate or, were not receiving the needed services. This section shows the versatility of EJS. This story is very different from Justice Anthony Kennedy. This shows their presence at the local level and in the education system.
THE INTEGRATION OF ART (6:39-7:30)
Professor Shauna Marshall, Co-founder of the Equal Justice Society, touches on a unique factor that is deep-rooted in the fibers of EJS’ business model. This is the combination of civil rights and social justice with art. Eva and EJS constantly collaborate with the artist to express and/or get various messages across via music, dance, and other artistic expressions. This train of thought has been a part of the organization from its’ early beginning. The fact that this “out-of-the-box thinking” is spoken of reveals a concept that EJS is committed to. This is included in the video because it is still one of their core beliefs.
LAYPERSON’S REFLECTIONS (7:32-8:40)
Steven Anthony Jones, Artistic Director at the Larraine Hansberry Theater, gives his perspective of the organization as someone who wasn’t there at the beginning of the Equal Justice Society. His point of view is important to have in this type of video because his thoughts are as an everyday person. This aspect is enlightening. One may have an idea of what they want their organization to achieve, but it’s everyday people that provide feedback on their true effectiveness.
CONSTANTLY INFLUENCING (8:41-9:27)
Pedro Hernandez, EJS Law Clerk, in the summer of 2012 spoke about Hasting’s Race, Poverty and Law Journal and the Equal Justice Society’s involvement. Pedro expounds on EJS’s constancy and impact. His option on EJS reveals how their influence or “seeding new ideas regarding the Intent doctrine” crosses various disciplines. This style of video explains to the audience how EJS’ great history has been a positive influence. Their record of accomplishments implies that they will continue on this trajectory.
EJS’ POTENTIAL (9:27-10:05)
Stephen Berzon, Managing Partner at Altshuler Berzon, LLP believes that at the rate EJS is working they have the potential to play a major role in “equaling the playing field” in multiple courts throughout the land. The faith put in EJS found in this section of the video displays the importance and improvements that EJS can be a part of going forward.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS (10:05-10:52)
Kate Kendell, Executive Director, (EJS Board Chair 2011-2014) suggests that EJS has made the most of what they have from both a staffing and budget perspective. In fact, her assessment shows they have far exceeded what was estimated. This is great content for the video-an organization such as EJS depends greatly on donations, etc. Making this information public allows those that financially contribute, or have an interest in doing so, to know where their money is going. The viewers learn that their funds will not only go towards a great cause but will be used in an effective and efficient way. This could also encourage people that are just learning of EJS to make contributions.
Overall, the goal of an anniversary video should be to visually provide a synopsis of the organization/company’s “authentic self”. The backstory and core values are often enticing to the viewers. Uncommon stories about your brand can also be intriguing. Highlighting the goals and “BIG wins” allow people to see how successful your organization truly is. Having others to co-sign, or provide testimonials that endorse your organization’s claims provide great validity.
Validity is extremely important regardless of the type of work that is being done. Intertwining unique aspects with facts that help reveal where the company has been, where it is, and where it is going is vital. Depending upon the company’s goal-whether it is fundraising or selling a product or service- one’s history can assist with the conversion rate. The more people know about a brand will either bring them in or keep them away. The aim should be to construct the visual stories in a way that will make the customer/client return and also attract potential patrons, or supports. This is all based on the impact of the trip down “video lane.”