VIDEO: Defending democracy on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

by Melissa Thompson

August 28, 2013


Saying youre from North Carolina these days is downright embarrassing.

As a former resident, watching the news from my beautiful state has been devastating. The absurd climate change denial legislation. The firing of state regulators.The severe restrictions on abortion (ironically tacked onto a law to ban Sharia and its radical and fundamentalist practices).And now, the Voter ID law which will strip many North Carolinians of their basic American right to elect their representatives.All this in a state which used to be considered progressive compared to its southern neighbors.

North Carolinians are putting up a serious fight to the attack on their state. Today is the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington where 200,000 people gathered together in our nation’s capitol to fight for civil rights. North Carolina is a key battleground right now to defending our civil rights and democracy, and nothing exemplifies that more than the MoralMondaymovement, led by the NAACP. An antidote to the madness, these weekly rallies have brought together people from all over the state and from a variety of issues to yell out in one voice: Forward Together.

Its frustrating sometimes, living in DC, that Im not there lending my voice at ground zero to that big yell.So when a group of us got the idea to make a video connecting the dots between all these issues and defending our democracy, I found a way to lend my voice.

The idea behind the video was to help Greenpeace supporters understand why they should care about whats happening in North Carolina and other states passing similar regressive laws. Why environmentalists should care about voting rights. Why Greenpeace is part of something called the Democracy Initiative.To try to explain the complex story of how a handful of corporations are writing our laws in a simple visual way.

As a filmmaker you often find images before you know why they make sense. I kept coming back to the game I played as a kid: you fold a piece of paper into four sections, draw a head on the first section, and pass it to the next person who draws a torso. The next person draws the legs and the last person adds the feet. You then unfold the paper and voila theres a hilarious collage of a human being.What did this image have to do with North Carolina, voting rights and activism?

Everything, it turns out.Activists often divide themselves, working individually on our single issues, but if we connect the dots we can win the largest fight for humanity. We must think as one whole body in order to take back our democracy.

Making We Are All Connected has been one of the most rewarding projects Ive been a part of at Greenpeace, because it speaks to so many issues I care about. Often we are so exhausted as activists working on one or two issues that we dont have energy to support our allies working on other, exhausting issues. The movement taking place in NC gives me great hope because its one we can all join.And it makes me proud, once again, to be connected to that beautiful place.

WATCH and SHARE this video below to connect the dots between the issues you care about.

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