In preparation for the ideas I’m starting to generate for my Major Digital project I started with some initial research into internet based activism. The projects mentioned in the syllabus were projects for the most part that I was familiar with. Only recently I had come across the Martha Payne’s Never Seconds story with my classroom in our daily look at current events. A few of the others I wanted to have a further look into, as I was not familiar with, such as WestHigh Bros Sincere Compliment project which I eventually shared with my class.
I came across this article of 5 Examples of Activism in video that I took a look at as well. While I think my project will likely center around Twitter, I had some ideas around public service announcements. The ones listed in the article were quite provocative, and not something I am going to share with my students but still worth looking into. I found this one by Amnesty International focusing on the atrocities Russia has commented particularly thought provoking.
I also did some looking into just hashtags that had made a difference and came across the article, 12 Hashtags that Changed the World. Where I came across the following…
— T¤luwanimi (@_Nimee_a) December 14, 2014
Many of the most popular hashtags were started because of tragedy, and this is no exception. After Boko Haram militants kidnapped hundreds of girls from a Nigerian boarding school on April 15, an international campaign was raised to pressure the Nigerian government to “Bring Back Our Girls.” In early May, nearly 500,000 tweets had been sent out with the tag. Its origins have been traced back to Nigerian lawyer Ibrahim Abdullahi, who first tweeted it on April 23.
The hashtag itself was so well-known and so inspiring that everyone from Michelle Obama to Malala Yousafzai participated in the campaign. Global attention and sympathy spurred the U.S. and other international governments to send aid to Nigeria in an effort to help with negotiations. Unfortunately, to this day 230 of the girls are still separated from their families. Sometimes a hashtag isn’t enough.
Although this hashtag has been revived recently as part of the movement against police brutality and the killing of black persons, it originated as a way to spread awareness of the high rates of disappearances and murders of indigenous women in Canada. First Nations have finally been getting some attention in their struggle for basic rights and protections from an indifferent and sometimes hostile Canadian government, and this hashtag has been a part of that.
The Twitter campaign launched on September 12, during which thousands of indigenous women—who make up only 4 percent of the Canadian population—tweeted their photos with the tag. As a result, Holly Jarrett, the woman who spearheaded the whole thing, gathered more than 300,000 signatures on a petition to the government asking for a public inquiry into the issue.
Like black youth in the U.S., indigenous Canadian women have to worry about having their lives cut short by brutal violence, which is often followed by a lack of interest from authorities and no justice. Their fight continues but without the support seen for other movements. However, more people are beginning to see that Canada is not the glorified land of polite liberalism that many thought it once was. The UN and organizations like Amnesty International continue to put pressure on the Canadian government to take meaningful action.
I think these are great examples of how social activism can have an impact on the world. It has definitely given me some ideas as to where to start to think about what I want my project to accomplish. I think possibly another direction, maybe not for this project might be once the students are more familiar with Twitter, to help them create and look at a list of hashtags that are meaningful for them to help them create some depth to their feeds along the way.