Breakthrough (human rights)
Breakthrough is a global human rights organization that uses media, pop culture, and community mobilization to build popular support for human rights.
- 1 Organization and mission
- 2 History
- 3 Recent campaigns and initiatives
- 4 Other campaigns and initiatives
- 5 Awards and nominations
- 6 References
Organization and mission
Based in India and the United States, Breakthrough's multimedia campaigns address global issues including violence against women, sexuality and HIV/AIDS, and immigrant rights and racial justice.
Indian-American human rights activist and cultural entrepreneur Mallika Dutt founded Breakthrough in 2000 with Mann ke Manjeeré: An Album of Women's Dreams, an album and music video on women’s rights. Launched as an experiment in using pop culture and media for social justice, Mann ke Manjeeré remained on the Indian pop charts for six weeks, going on to win the 2001 National Screen Award in India for best music video.
On using pop culture tools to promote human rights, Dutt has said, “After working inside the global human rights movement for most of my professional life, the experience of seeing the same faces at every meeting, policy brief or conference had left me frustrated … The more I thought about it, the more convinced I’d become that media, art and popular culture could express [human rights] values in new ways for new audiences.”
Recent campaigns and initiatives
Ring the Bell (Global)
Breakthrough's global Ring the Bell campaign launched on March 8, 2013 with events worldwide. The campaign calls on men worldwide to take concrete action to challenge violence against women. It is the worldwide expansion of our most internationally-lauded program to date, Bell Bajao ("Ring the Bell") — recipient of a distinguished Cannes Silver Lion — which has inspired millions of men and boys in India and beyond to take a stand against domestic violence. Together with initiatives challenging early marriage and gender-biased sex selection, our programs work to bring dignity, equality, and justice into homes and communities around the world.
The campaign was launched in partnership with prominent celebrities and leading men including Sir Patrick Stewart, singer and songwriter Michael Bolton, former NFL player and activist Don McPherson, Mayor of Dallas Mike Rawlings, comedian and political commentator Dean Obeidallah and spoken word artist Darnell L. Moore. The campaign is also supported by Sir Richard Branson, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, former Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet, producer and director Joe Wright, musician Anoushka Shankar, and Bollywood actor Rahul Bose.
Bell Bajao! (Ring the Bell!)
Developed in pro bono partnership with Ogilvy & Mather, Bell Bajao is a domestic violence awareness on men and boys to act as partners in ending violence against women. Since 2008, Bell Bajao has reached more than 130 million people in India through a series of popular television advertisements.
Launched in 2009, the Restore Fairness campaign is a video documentary series and blog calling on the U.S. government to uphold fair immigration and racial justice. The campaign's documentary shorts feature stories about life in the United States for immigrants and communities of color after September 11, 2001.
I Am This Land
A nation-wide three-month video contest launched in 2010, I Am This Land asked participants to share views on diversity, pluralism, identity, gender and sexuality, immigration, and racial justice.
America 2049 is the first transmedia Facebook game to use the platform to explore assumptions about racial justice, human rights, migration and democracy. Players assume fictional character roles to engage in a plot that highlights major human rights themes (i.e. migration, voting and constitutional rights, trafficking, LGBT rights, labor rights, racial profiling, and more). Players engage with videos, graphics, microsites and social media platforms to find clues and solve puzzles to advance in the game. American 2049 also features prominent celebrities such as Harold Perrineau, Victor Garber, Cherry Jones, Anthony Rapp, and Margaret Cho.
Other campaigns and initiatives
ICED - I Can End Deportation
ICED is 3D role-playing video game about immigration. The name is a play on the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Players are put in the role of an immigrant in the United States and must avoid deportation by participating in community service and completing other challenges. ICED has been played by more than 150,000 people since it was released in 2008.
What Kind of Man Are You?
Developed in pro bono partnership with McCann Erickson, What Kind of Man Are You? is a multimedia campaign asking men to wear condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS to their wives. The campaign encouraged an open, national dialogue about a woman's right to negotiate safe sex within marriage.
Is This Justice?
Developed in pro bono partnership with Ogilvy & Mather Is This Justice? is a multimedia awareness campaign about the stigma and discrimination faced by women, particularly widows, living with HIV/AIDS.
Mann ke Manjeeré
A music album promoting women's rights. The title track and video for Mann ke Manjeeré is based on the true story of Shameem Pathan, who left an abusive marriage and became a truck driver to support herself and her child away from her violent husband. The album features five songs by Shubha Mudgal, composed by Shantanu Moitra, with lyrics by Prasoon Joshi. The record was released through Virgin records.
Awards and nominations
- Avon Global Award for Excellence in Communications, 2012
- Games for Change Transmedia Award Nomination, 2011
- Silver Lion, Cannes Film Festival (Bell Bajao), 2010
- Gold and Silver at Goafest, (Bell Bajao), 2009
- Karmaveer Puraskar: National Award for Social Justice & Citizen Action by the Indian Confederation of NGOs, (Mallika Dutt), 2009
- American Courage Award, Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), (Mallika Dutt), 2009
- Gold Spike, Spike Asia (Ring, Ring/Bell Bajao), 2009
- Young Achiever's Award from Advertising Club of Bombay (Bell Bajao), (O &M's Ryan Mendonca), 2009
- Best Integrated Campaign of the Year, Media Abby Award at Goafest for Public Service, Appeals and Charity (Bell Bajao), 2009
- Dogooder Nonprofit Award, Best Staff-Long Form Video (Death by Detention), 2009
- South Asian Media & Marketing Association (SAMMA) Trailblazer Award (Mallika Dutt), 2008
- The Woman of Color, Woman of Courage Award (IUP Women's Studies Program) (Mallika Dutt), 2008
- Bronze at the 41st Abby Awards in the Public Service, Appeals, and Charity Category (Is This Justice), 2008
- Radio & TV Advertising Practitioner’s Association of India (RAPA) Award for Best Film with a Social Message (Is This Justice?), 2007
- Clinton Global Initiative - Reducing Twin Pandemics: HIV/AIDS and Gender Based Violence, 2006
- Clinton Global Initiative - Value Families Campaign, 2006
- Award for Distinguised Service, New York University School of Law, BLAPA Alumni Association (Mallika Dutt), 2006
- Link TV Award for Best Music Video (Mann ke Manjeere and Babul), 2005
- Best Cinematography—U Judge It! Film Festival (Mann Ke Manjeere), 2003
- Best Exhibition Award to Artist—Haku Shah—India Habitat Centre (Haman Hain Ishq), 2003
- Spirit of Asian America Award—Asian American Federation of New York (Mallika Dutt), 2003
- Phoenix Award—New York Asian Women’s Center (Mallika Dutt), 2002
- Best Indipop Music Video—Screen Awards (Mann Ke Manjeere), 2001
- National Citizen’s Award (India) for Contribution to Women & Development (Mallika Dutt), 2001
- South Asian Women’s Creative Collection (SAWCC) Annual Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to the South Asian Community (Mallika Dutt), 2001
- Feldt, Gloria. "She's Doing It: Mallika Dutt Defines Her Terms for Global Human Rights". She's Doing It: Mallika Dutt Defines Her Terms for Global Human Rights. Retrieved February 8, 2012.