“Can You See It?,” a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) digital short produced by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging program in partnership with community action network California Calls and worker-owned creative agency Time of Day Media, has been nominated for Best Promotion at the Writers Guild Awards.
The combined live-action and animated short features a young Latina woman biking through beloved California neighborhoods imagining what could be if there were money to fund community resources like public libraries and improved school buildings. There is, in fact, money for these resources—it’s just being hoarded by our state’s largest corporations, many of which are taking advantage of unfairly low property taxes to under-contribute to public coffers. The result: local governments left scrambling to fund basic community services.
The video, which aimed to engage young voters of color, helps viewers make this connection by showing the richness that already exists in our communities, but also the ways that things could be better—with a diverse cast illustrating that everyone benefits when the shared public sphere is well-funded. In addition to a call for corporations to pay their fair share, the video offers a sharper analysis of the mechanisms behind why corporations are not already paying fair: a corporate-driven campaign that has strategically hamstrung our government’s capacity to act by redirecting conversations about inequality and poverty to the “problem” of immigration.
Although the video centrally sought to encourage young people to vote in the 2020 election, it was part of our larger strategic narrative effort to restore the public’s confidence in government and its ability to address inequality and decaying infrastructure.
The video was used by grassroots organizations across the country, but was particularly resonant in California, where it was disseminated by California Calls, one of the key racial justice organizations in California working to inspire and activate underrepresented communities to demand that government be responsive and active in addressing long-standing racial inequities in the state. California Calls reported that “Can You See It” was their top performing piece of content for the year, with more than 6 million impressions on Univision and 1 million impressions on Facebook, resonating particularly well with their labor and community partners.
The short was also utilized by the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) in Illinois for pre-campaign GOTV work. In Michigan, the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) and For Our Future similarly used the video for pre-campaign GOTV work.
The Writers Guild Awards honor outstanding writing in film, television, new media, news, radio and other promotional categories. The final awards will be announced Sunday, March 21, 2021.