According to Wikipedia, Digital Activism is “the use of electronic communication technologies such as social media, e-mail, and podcasts for various forms of activism to enable faster and more effective communication by citizen movements”. It has the ability challenge the laws and injustice that politicians and people with power tend to overlook or disregard.
Black Lives Matter is a movement that was formed in the summer of 2013 to protest and stand against the violence and injustice that black people face every day. Black people were, and still are, getting shot and harassed over things that normally would be disregarded rather than looked as suspicious if the person were white. After Trayvon Martin’s death, more and more people have taken to social media and online forums to discuss what’s been happening within our communities and show the world what it is we black people are afraid of. It has gotten to a point where people are fed up with cops getting paid leave, or little to no consequences at all while a family has to suffer the loss of a loved one who would still be here if it wasn’t for prejudice and racism. Digital activism has helped this movement in so many ways, and since I am apart of the BLM movement, I get to witness the greatness first hand. For Example, BLM has created an online society where people can use the hashtag #BLM to discuss what change they want to see, where protest will be held, and even show where other injustices are happening since we know every incident won’t be shown on the news. This movement is all about showing how racism still exist, revealing the people who are involved in the legal corruption against our people, what change we want to see, and why this movement is a serious matter for all races. We senddirect messages to politicians, create unique hashtags for those lives who were taken from us due to police brutality, and images of the positive things black people are doing in their communities despite our circumstances.
Digital activism doesn’t just help movements such as BLM, but also can help with political stances, and protest all around the world, such as the Arab Spring. The book Digital Media Society talks about Castells’ theory of communication power. If I am understanding this correctly, it’s when a society or group come together as a whole through shared interest to form a common bond rebelling against something that could eventually turn into a power struggle with those they are fighting against. Basically a organizations strength is in its numbers. The more people involved, the better chance you have at forcing a change within society. Deray McKesson, a BLM advocate speaks on digital activism in an interview on The Verge website. He says, “I’m mindful that we aren’t born woke, something wakes us up, and for so many people, what woke them up was a tweet or a Facebook post, an Instagram post, a picture. I never criticize people who [others] deem to be Twitter activists, or hashtag activists, because I know that telling the truth is often a tough act, no matter where you tell that truth.”.
Despite all the negative feedback I hear from older generations concerning technology in today’s society, I see something wonderful, challenging, and inspirational that could create and promote leadership throughout communities around the world. Just think, if the world had the ability to protest and speak against injustices in the past such as the civil rights movement, don’t you think a change might have happened a little sooner? To have the ability to communicate directly to the people who are apart of the problem and have that ability at your fingers tips at all times is amazing. The truth is, not everyone is brave enough to talk about certain issues in public, and their devices are their way to be apart of something they strongly believe in. With that being said, it’s important to know that digital activism is mainly talking and discussing the issue. It’s still important to actually attend protest and show others through images and video how you are making progress within your movement. As long as people are willing to make a change, I believe digital activism will always be here.