Haiti is still in the headlines, but is not part of our daily conversation. If cholera broke out in the United States, would we care more?
Certainly we are not as vulnerable. Our food, water and sewage are safe. When someone contracts cholera here -- on Thursday, November 18, a woman in Florida, recently returned from visiting family in Haiti, was diagnosed -- we have the infrastructure to deal with it. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and still suffering the effects of a major earthquake, cannot cope by itself. It needs our support.
Talking about social justice issues through the medium of animated video allows me to communicate across all kinds of divides -- in ways that traditional reporting and photography do not. Teenagers of my age, or adults who have little interest in politics may not be willing to sit down and read a serious story or watch a depressing slide show, but they may be drawn to watch an animated piece. People relate well to animation because when they think of cartoons, they have pleasant recollections of them. Animation is fun; it's vivid, it's playful.
Animated videos about social justice are like political cartoons: they trigger the imagination of those who watch them. Viewers are intrigued because they don't know where the drawing is going to go, because the artist is not constricted by real world limitations. That brings the viewers into the story... and it is my hope that that makes the "message" of an animated video especially compelling.
I think the powerful and plaintive song "Country" by Total Babe captures what I was trying to evoke in my video: the acoustic guitar track pulls you into the story and makes you care. The fact that the band's leader, and the writer of this song, is my sister, Clara Salyer, makes me proud.
To draw the scenes of this video I used Facebook's Graffiti application. I filmed myself drawing using the application's replay functionality and edited it all using Apple's iMovie.