by Mark Engman, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
You may have noticed last month a sudden series of posts on social media about U.S. ratification of the CRC. It was due to a mobilization organized by the Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the CRC (CRC Campaign), a coalition of U.S. organizations and individuals committed to child rights, including the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
The Clinton Administration signed the CRC in 1995; that committed the United States to pursuing full ratification. The next step in the U.S. ratification process is for the President to submit the treaty package to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent. For the CRC, that never happened.
The CRC Campaign has worked behind the scenes for years to convince the Obama Administration to send the CRC to the Senate. This year, we faced a growing sense of urgency: this is the last year of the Obama Administration; and now the United States stands alone as the only nation not party to the CRC.
We wanted to show the White House that Americans care about child rights. On April 11-18, the CRC Campaign mounted a grassroots effort to #SendTheCRC – asking people to tweet the President and urge him to send the CRC to the Senate before he leaves office.
In that one week, more than 4,400 Twitter accounts sent around 6,100 total tweets about #SendTheCRC, generating 44 million “impressions.” That means we reached a lot of people with messages that child rights matter; that the US stands alone in not adopting the CRC; and that President Obama could do something about it. That is incredible, especially considering how challenging it is to address complicated topics like topics like child rights and treaty ratification!
Because USF understands the importance of the CRC to UNICEF and to children, we came together as a team to implement an integrated mobilization effort. Our communications team created amazing graphics and tweets, and a nice video. Both USF and UNICEF used those resources through several accounts, and shared them with a wide range of UNICEF supporters. We capped the week with an op-ed from the U.S. Fund’s CEO, Caryl Stern, on Time.com.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF and UNICEF together made a big impact in driving awareness about this mobilization! Together, we were by far the largest sources of tweets, retweets, and impressions.
Did we convince President Obama to take action on the CRC? Well, no; we knew a few thousand tweets would not spark immediate action. But thanks to our joint effort, we know that there are thousands of Americans who are willing to engage on child rights; and millions more who know their friends care about the CRC.
The U.S. Fund will continue to work with its partners on the CRC Campaign to push for U.S. ratification of the CRC. We look forward to the day when the child rights treaty is truly universal.
Pictured above from top to bottom: students at Notre Dame High School, Dave of Harmony School of Advancement, and Melanie of Dorado Academy.