Undergraduate Internship Report: Witness

Witness logo

WITNESS logo.  Source: http://www.witness.org

Hello all,

My name is Camille Kritzman and I am a senior graduating this December 2013, with double majors in Latin American Studies and Psychology, with a minor in Human Rights.  This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to intern at WITNESS, a human rights organization based out of Brooklyn, NY.  WITNESS focuses on the intersection of human rights and film.  WITNESS works to draw attention to situations pertinent to human rights by means of video advocacy.  This includes funding and working with documentary producers, providing cameras and technical training to areas undergoing human rights violations, and by curating citizen produced videos online to provide eyewitness accounts.

Witness_Google+

Source: WITNESS’s Google plus page, http://www.googlepus.com/witnessorg

My internship was within WITNESS’s social media department.  This meant that the majority of my workday was spent on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and other social media outlets.  Social media is a growing tool for both advocacy and activism.  By tracking hashtags, I was able to learn a lot about emerging human rights situations in other countries.  Social media is also used to communicate WITNESS’s goals in providing technical support to activists with video cameras.

Witness_Tips_on_Protesting

Photo I edited by providing tips in the Turkish language on how to film a protest, found on www.pinterest.com/witnessorg

I was attracted to this internship because of the implications social media has on community organizing and activism.  Social media is a new form of communication that knows no international boundary and (usually) little censorship.  I was excited to explore the new implications on international activism and organizing.  Although I accomplished a lot at WITNESS between different blog posts and projects, my largest achievement was organizing a Google Hangout between activists from Brazil and Turkey.  This occurred right around the time when both nations had begun national upheavals, bringing the possibility of positive social change but also extreme police brutality and human rights violations.  I spent weeks finding participants, and preparing questions that I thought all could answer and could incite conversation.  The Google Hangout was streamed live on Youtube, and now has over 800 views:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSXVJWN-Bqs

I treasure the time I spent at WITNESS.  I had the chance to work with incredible and inspiring people, who gave me the confidence to pursue my own visions and projects.  I had the opportunity to write blog posts about topics that I’m passionate about, such as international refugee day, and a farmer’s strike in Colombia.  Throughout my time at WITNESS, I enjoyed keeping informed about emerging human rights crises and technology. It was truly refreshing to work in such a friendly and professional environment.

Camille