How well do you know what’s important to you?
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
My war refugee grandmother told me a story about passing books in secret among her neighbors when she was a young woman in Ukraine. If caught, they could be sent to prison camps in Siberia, as multiple relatives were. She showed four-year-old me the book, held together with a rubber band because its pages were falling out from use. Then she lent this priceless artifact to a neighbor because the sharing of ideas was more important to her than sentimentality.
That’s why Article 19 is important to me.
You don’t know what’s going to matter most when you start a project like this animated film we created for the FDR Presidential Library and Museum on Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What struck me as I read the Declaration, over and over, was the recurring phrase “Everyone has the right….”
Do you know your human rights? The ones you’re born with regardless of where you’re born? Every country in the world has agreed to them, whether or not they honor that agreement. And every one of them breaks it somehow.
Eleanor Roosevelt and India’s Hansa Mehta together insisted the Declaration be written in clear language so we could all understand those rights. It has since been translated into 529 different languages in an ongoing effort to make sure everyone knows them. That’s why we sprinkled a selection of those rights throughout this film.
The FDR Library’s goal with projects like this is to plant seeds that drive curiosity in young people, encouraging them to seek more information and take advantage of the primary source materials housed in places like FDR’s archive. They create accompanying curriculum guides that introduce students to primary-source examples, showing them the value of encountering history first hand.
When strong ideas inform the work you do, your identity comes through in the communications you create. Communications strategy has to have larger goals than making a sale or gaining a client. It should be built around communicating the ideas most important to the people of your organization in ways that make them clear to the world. Those ideas must have specificity, and if they aren’t deriving from a clear vision, they won’t.
In the case of the FDR Library, those goals include conveying the value of archives in preserving our historic legacy, and the importance of understanding history so we don’t repeat certain things – like sending people to prison for sharing a book.