Coinciding with grassroots LGBTQ civil rights marches in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as well as the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shootings in Orlando, the Human Rights Campaign produced six livestreams over four days in June at the peak of LGBTQ Pride Month as part of HRC's Weekend of Action campaign.
The goal of the livestreams was to connect our more than three million members and supporters around this historic weekend. We wanted them to feel a part of our community, urging them to unite, resist and enlist with HRC.
The six livestreams were of:
All six Weekend of Action livestreams amplified the work of LGBTQ advocates in the fight for full equality while honoring the victims of one of the worst mass shootings in American history.
At the center of the weekend, the team created a 7-hour, multicamera livestream from both coasts. Normally, a high-quality stream of this nature would take Internet trucks or satellite vans, integrated with heavy duty switching equipment. But for a minimal cost—and using the latest in smartphone and digital streaming software—the video team broadcast coast to coast using smart phones, laptops and savvy software. HRC converted smartphones to roaming broadcast cameras, giving the phones to marchers for multiple live "inside the march" views. At HRC HQ, the building was converted into an action center where building visitors could stop by stations to make march signs, write letters to members of Congress, and more. The team pre-produced video packages corresponding to each station, interviewing HRC staff and informing viewers of similar actions they could take at home, then cut to those packages at key moments in the livestream.
The 7-hour livestream also broadcast the full programs from each march's stage. (Neither of the two marches livestreamed their own programs, so HRC became the defacto outlet to amplify those grassroots movements.) The stream asked for photos and videos from march participants, which were then cut into real-time, user-generated packages, and streamed. The livestream allowed viewers to join a "virtual march" through HRC's texting program, and then displayed the names of those who had joined in real time. Through integrated graphics the stream reminded viewers of appropriate hashtags, and used texting calls-to-action to build HRC's membership and contact lists. The epic livestream appeared simultaneously on Facebook and Youtube, and had to be broken up into multiple streams as it reached Facebook's streaming time limits.
On Sunday, over the course of seven hours, the march coverage livestream showed how HRC had converted its D.C. headquarters into a grassroots organizing center, gave multiple views from within the two marches, streamed the full programs from both stages, and occasionally cut away to pre-recorded packages with Senator Kamala Harris, HRC President Chad Griffin, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, and other coalition partners. In real time, the livestream also let viewers join a "virtual march" by texting a message to HRC on their phones, growing HRC's text program.
Besides the Sunday march livestream, the team worked with local TV station WFTV-ABC in Orlando to broadcast their feed of Pulse vigils on the Monday anniversary of the shootings. By sending a producer down to Orlando to embed in the newsroom, HRC was able to amplify this important remembrance to our membership at minimal cost.
Simultaneously HRC produced livestreams on Friday and Saturday from its D.C. HQ to dedicate artwork to the Pulse victims and stream a grassroots training session as well its own Pulse vigil in D.C.
It was a herculean effort by a small staff that resulted in effectively creating a Human Rights Campaign live television channel for a weekend.
The livestreams helped connect our audiences unlike ever before. They had more than 535,000 views across all platforms and reached more than 4.6 million people. Additionally, they had more than 76,000 interactions with supportive and inspirational comments from viewers around the globe.
Through our live stream, more than 27,000 people texted their names to join HRC's Virtual Pride March. On Monday, more than 4,600 supporters posted notes of support in our #HonorThemWithAction campaign to remember the lives of the 49 Pulse victims.
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