Press Release 04.28.22

Innocence Project Wins First-Ever Webby for Public Service & Activism

‘Happiest Moments’ Campaign a People's Voice Winner

By Innocence Staff

Huwe Burton hugging a loved one after his exoneration in 2019 in the Bronx, New York. (Image: Sameer Abdel-Khalek/Innocence Project)

(New York, NY — April 28, 2022) The Innocence Project won its first-ever Webby Award in the Public Service & Activism category this week for its recent “Happiest Moments” campaign. Dubbed the “OSCARS of the Internet” by the New York Times, the Webby Awards are selected by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and considered the most prestigious in the digital space. “Happiest Moments” was a People’s Voice Winner, meaning it won the most votes in its category. Innocence Project was previously nominated for a Webby in 2008 and 2020, and just won two Webby Anthem Awards in March for the same piece. The win comes during a momentous week for the Innocence Project and its digital advocacy team, which supported the efforts of the litigation and policy teams in getting the execution of Melissa Lucio, an innocent mother in Texas, stayed. Led by Innocence Project Digital Engagement Director Alicia Maule and Content Strategist Daniele Selby, the 100-day digital advocacy campaign garnered over 11 million views on TikTok, 1.5 million page views on the Innocence Project’s English and Spanish websites and more than 300,000 supporters from around the world. 

“Happiest Moments,” produced in both English and Spanish and narrated by actress Dascha Polanco, tells three remarkable stories of wrongful conviction — Rosa Jimenez, freed in 2021 after 17 years in prison; Termaine Hicks, exonerated in 2020 after 16 years in prison; and Huwe Burton, exonerated in 2019 after 20 years in prison. They are three of the 237 people exonerated and freed with the help of the Innocence Project. Together, these Innocence Project clients  have collectively spent more than 3,600 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. The video highlights the intergenerational and familial impact of wrongful incarceration, and the irreplaceable memories that were stolen from them while incarcerated. It also celebrates the joy they felt when reunited with their loved ones.

“When the Innocence Project wins, the light shines on those who have survived the grizzly carceral system and those still fighting for justice,” said Ms. Maule, who led the campaign.

“We give all the love and appreciation to Huwe Burton, Rosa Jimenez, and Termaine Hicks and their attorneys Vanessa Potkin and Susan Friedman for working with us on this project.We also want to thank our Innocence Project clients, our partners Hayden5, director Ariel Ellis, and Dascha Polanco, who was the perfect narrator to connect English and Spanish speakers to our organization. Our goal is to grow the innocence movement to new heights and ‘Happiest Moments’ helped us reach millions of people.” 

Hayden5, who lead the production efforts, has an impressive portfolio that includes Long Shot (Netflix), a documentary about a wrongfully accused man, and Revolving Doors (Tribeca) about recidivism made them an ideal partner. The team handled creative development, production, and post-production using a variety of mixed media and original music to tell the “Happiest Moments” story. 

The 26th Annual Webby Awards will be hosted by comedian Roy Wood Jr. (The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Roy Wood Jr.: Imperfect Messenger). The star-studded ceremony will take place in New York City on Monday, May 16, and will celebrate the best of the Internet. Fans can follow and watch show highlights including hallmark 5-Word Speeches from the night’s big winners on May 16th at #Webbys on Instagram and Twitter, and the show at webbyawards.com.

The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences members include Daniel Dae Kim (actor, producer, and activist); Ashley Judd (Author, Actor, and Social Justice Humanitarian); Mitchell Baker (CEO and chairwoman, Mozilla); Lisa Sherman (president and CEO, Ad Council), Sarah Kate Ellis (president and CEO, GLAAD); Renata Erlikhman (chief investment officer, OW Management); Shayla Tait (director of philanthropy, The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation); Russlynn Ali (CEO and co-founder, XQ Institute); Marc Ecko (chief commercial officer and board member, XQ Institute); Heidi Arthur (chief campaign development officer, Ad Council); and Alexis M. Herman (chair and chief executive officer, New Ventures, and former U.S. secretary of labor).

About The Webby Awards:

Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the Internet, includingWebsites and Mobile Sites, Video, Advertising, Media & PR, Apps and Software, Social, Podcasts, Games, and Virtual & Remotes. Established in 1996, this year’s Webby Awards received nearly 14,000 entries from all 50 states and 70 countries worldwide. The Webby Awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include Verizon, WP Engine, Canva, Omidyar Network, YouGov, NAACP, KPMG, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, MediaPost, Podcast Movement, TheFutureParty and AIGA.

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