Dr. Martin Luther King, Anne Frank, Harvey Milk, Daniel Pearl. Men and women whose lives were cut short by racism, genocide, homophobia and hate. What would they have done if they had lived? A new ad from the Anti Defamation League asks this powerful question.

Would they have inspired legislation and fought injustice? Would they have written great works of literature or powerful works of journalism? Would they have made the world a better, more beautiful place? The ad gives us a glimpse of a present where these victims of hate survived and went on to live amazing lives.

Set to John Lennon's "Imagine" (naturally), the ADL's ad is a worthy tribute to the organization's 100 years of work fighting hate and discrimination.

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  • 1910s

    The Jewish community in the United States faces rampant anti-Semitism and overt discrimination. Books, plays and, above all, newspapers, depict Jews with crude stereotypes. Against this backdrop of bigotry and intolerance, an attorney from Chicago named Sigmund Livingston, puts forth an idea to create an organization with a mission "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all...” Starting with a $200 budget and two desks in Livingston’s law office, the Anti-Defamation League is founded with the clear understanding that the fight against one form of prejudice cannot succeed without battling prejudice in all forms. Photo: ADL Founder Sigmund Livingston

  • 1920s

    ADL counters Ku Klux Klan-inspired violence against Jewish-owned businesses and religious institutions. Industrialist Henry Ford becomes a force for promoting anti-Semitism through his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, and is exposed for circulating The International Jew, based on the anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.” Photo: A KKK cross burning in the 1920s.

  • 1920s

    ADL counters Ku Klux Klan-inspired violence against Jewish-owned businesses and religious institutions. Industrialist Henry Ford becomes a force for promoting anti-Semitism through his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, and is exposed for circulating The International Jew, based on the anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.” Photo: A copy of industrialist Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic publication, “The International Jew.”

  • 1930s

    As anti-Semitic fervor and scapegoating of Jews for causing the Great Depression grows, ADL institutes the first independent fact-finding on extremist individuals and organizations, creating a trove of credible information. Photo: During the 1930s, Jews were blamed for the oil shortage.

  • 1930s

    An anti-Semitic pamphlet, published in the 1930s, suggests that the New Deal was created by Jews as part of a plot to control the United States and references the notoriously anti-Semitic forgery, “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Photo: ADL counters Ku Klux Klan-inspired violence against Jewish-owned businesses and religious institutions. Industrialist Henry Ford becomes a force for promoting anti-Semitism through his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, and is exposed for circulating The International Jew, based on the anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”

  • 1940s

    ADL launches massive research operations to uncover Nazi supporters and hate groups in the U.S., making its findings available to government agencies in Washington, D.C. and to the press. Increasingly, the FBI and the media turn to ADL for its expertise. Photo: A meeting of the German-American Bund in the 1940s.

  • 1950s

    As anti-Communist fervor and conspiracy sweep the country, ADL stands out as a premier opponent of character assassinations, culminating in President Dwight Eisenhower's historic 1953 televised speech, during ADL's 40th Anniversary celebration, denouncing Senator Joseph McCarthy. Presaging the agency's activist support for legislation to end racial discrimination, ADL files an amicus brief in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court school desegregation case. Photo: In the 1950s, a sign outside of a resort advertises rooms for “Christian clientele” only.

  • 1960s

    ADL commissions a team of scholars at the University of California, Berkeley, to investigate all aspects of anti-Semitism in American life. Its multi-year study, producing eight books, is the most definitive ever undertaken on the subject. Photo: Anti-Jewish graffiti on a synagogue.

  • 1970s

    The Yom Kippur War in 1973 intensifies ADL's campaign to counter anti-Israel propaganda. The agency exposes and takes the lead in combating the Arab boycott of companies that do business with Israel, leading to the passage of the 1977 and 1978 laws that prohibit American companies from participating in the blacklist. Photo: An ADL publication from the 1970s looked at Jewish employment problems at the big six oil companies.

  • 1980s

    Responding to an increase in anti-Semitic incidents, ADL blazes a trail with its pioneering model hate crimes statute, proposing enhanced penalties for bias-motivated criminal conduct. In the following years, a new field of criminal law emerges: 45 states and the District of Columbia enact laws based on or similar to ADL's model, and the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upholds the penalty-enhancement approach, patterned after ADL's model statute. Photo: An ADL advertisement from the 1980s bemoans Soviet and Palestinian control over proceedings at the United Nations.

  • 1990s

    With public awareness about the impact of hate violence on the rise, ADL plays a central role in the first-ever White House Conference on Hate Crime in 1997-sparking enhanced community partnerships with law enforcement authorities to address the issue. Photo: Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, greets Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in September 1994. Mr. Foxman presented the pope with a copy of the Italian edition of “Letters to a Jewish Friend,” which deals with John Paul’s friendship with Jerzy Kluger.

  • 2000s

    In October 2002, ADL convenes the Conference on Global Anti-Semitism, a gathering of world Jewish leaders, diplomats and U.N. consular officials in New York City to develop strategies to combat the rising global anti-Semitism that led to attacks on Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere. ADL educates Americans on the security challenges confronting Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War and the conflicts in Gaza in 2008 and 2012, and provides background about the participants in the 2010 Free Gaza "Flotilla" incident and their associations with extremist and terrorist organizations, including Hamas. Photo: Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel speaks at the 2002 ADL Conference on Global Anti-Semitism in New York City.

  • 2000s

    In October 2002, ADL convenes the Conference on Global Anti-Semitism, a gathering of world Jewish leaders, diplomats and U.N. consular officials in New York City to develop strategies to combat the rising global anti-Semitism that led to attacks on Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere. ADL educates Americans on the security challenges confronting Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War and the conflicts in Gaza in 2008 and 2012, and provides background about the participants in the 2010 Free Gaza "Flotilla" incident and their associations with extremist and terrorist organizations, including Hamas. Photo: A protestor at the UN World Conference Against Racism, which turned into an anti-Israel hat-fest, wears a shirt that proclaims “Zionism is Racism.”

  • 2000s

    In October 2002, ADL convenes the Conference on Global Anti-Semitism, a gathering of world Jewish leaders, diplomats and U.N. consular officials in New York City to develop strategies to combat the rising global anti-Semitism that led to attacks on Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere. ADL educates Americans on the security challenges confronting Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War and the conflicts in Gaza in 2008 and 2012, and provides background about the participants in the 2010 Free Gaza "Flotilla" incident and their associations with extremist and terrorist organizations, including Hamas. Photo: Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, with then-German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, at the ADL Conference on Global Anti-Semitism in November 2002.

  • Present Day

    Through a network of 30 professionally staffed regional offices, and a national headquarters staff consisting of experts in varied fields from research, law, education, and intergroup and interfaith understanding, ADL embarks on its second century with the knowledge and experience garnered over a 100-year history. Photo: Italian President Giorgio Napolitano (left) accepts the ADL Distinguished Statesman Award from Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, in a ceremony February 15, 2013 at Blair House in Washington, D.C. Mr. Napolitano was recognized for his uncompromising, unequivocal stand against the evil of anti-Semitism and for defending the rights of immigrants and minorities in Italian society.

H/T Upworthy