When Hurricane Florence devastated large portions of North and South Carolina, civil legal aid leaders from the two states quickly realized they needed to work together.
To facilitate disaster response and inform lawmakers and funders of the important role of civil legal aid in the recovery, a coalition of legal services entities turned to the Self-Represented Litigation Network and Relatable Communications Group to combine the power of visual data and storytelling.
SRLN’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) experts designed interactive maps to display location-based demographic data, while Relatable Communications Group researched and wrote accompanying narrative and selected public domain images from the hurricane’s aftermath. The result was a collection of vivid “story maps” called “Stronger Than the Storm” that provide insight into the hurricane’s impacts on specific demographic groups in specific locations and how civil legal aid would support their recovery.
The project was completed on time and on budget in under three weeks. Clients were the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, the South Carolina Bar Foundation, and the law firm of Nelson Mullins.
One client described “Stronger Than the Storm” as “New York Times-style” online storytelling, and another said the project was “the best investment ever.”
Among the immediate results were a 10-fold financial return for one of the clients in the form of a $101,000 grant.