“What if” games — imagining how history would have changed if key events had unfolded differently — have always been interesting to me. So this new campaign by the Anti-Defamation League (for their centenary) was bound to get my attention. It features several prominent victims of deadly hate crimes from the recent and not-so-recent past, imagining how they might have contributed to the world had they lived.
From their press release:
After 100 years of fighting bigotry and fostering respect, we are celebrating our successes, while at the same time recognizing that we still have a long way to go to achieve the reality of a world without hate. Join us by watching, sharing and taking steps every day to create a world without hate.
You probably recognize most, if not all, of the names. But here’s a cheat sheet:
Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. (J1929 – 1968) as an elderly immigration reform advocate
Holocaust diarist Anne Frank (1929 – 1945) as a Nobel-winning novelist
San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk (1930 – 1978) as an international LGBT advocate
Journalist Daniel Pearl (1963 – 2002) as a Pulitzer winner
Hitchhiker (and father) James Byrd, Jr. (1949 – 1998) as a local hero
University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard (1976 – 1998) as leader of an anti-bullying coalition
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1922 – 1995) as an peacemaking elder statesman
The music, of course, is by John Lennon (1940 – 1980).
The PSA is not creatively exciting, as it basically repeats the same motif seven times. But that’s not the point. Imagining how many lives are, have been, and will be cut short by crimes of hatred should help us all try a little harder to make a better world.
You can donate to the cause at the campaign site.
Publicis Kaplan Thaler