Social media fuels modern-day student activism

The messages went out on social media: it was time for black university student in Atlanta to take a stand against racial injustice.

A group of about 60 students from colleges across metro Atlanta responded last week, rallying downtown in putting rain to support black students at the University of Missouri and requiring modifications by themselves campuses. Hundreds more took part online, sharing messages of solidarity by themselves social networks pages.

Current student activism takes it to the electronic street. It’s mobile, swift and technologically smart.

Demonstrations that as soon as took months or years to collaborate now can rise up in minutes or hours with a couple of well-placed tweets, snaps, posts and hashtags. And the Internet allows people worldwide to see and review the occasions as they occur, and provide assistance or take part in the reaction.

Using social networks is a dividing line between the previous generations of protestors, who constructed networks face-to-face, and their kids or grandkids, whose networks and track records are developed online. A few of the older veterans criticize social media as a way of dedicating little to a cause, but the digital natives accept it for its immediacy and message control.

“A decade back students were having poor experiences on their schools but there was not a method to let the world know,” stated Shaun Harper, creator and executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Now students are starting to understand that exactly what they are experiencing is a national phenomenon. Social media is a tool for students to assist communicate their issues,” he said.

That message has played out throughout the nation as news of campus demonstrations and students’ needs for equality has spread out. From Princeton University where students are demanding former president Woodrow Wilson’s name be gotten rid of from the school because of his racist views, to Kennesaw State University, where the demands consist of racial level of sensitivity training for the school neighborhood, protests have in some cases come from on and been shared by students on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The around the world connection and immediacy of social media has a benefit for protesters.

“Understanding that the eyes of the world are on you is a nightmare for universities in a competitive marketplace, since it impacts image and employment,” Harper said. “Public shaming is not the thing that college presidents and others want.

Institution of higher learnings throughout the nation employ Harper’s center to perform school racial environment studies to gauge the climate on their campuses. Emory employed the center to carry out a school survey in 2013, which it used to establish a Campus Life Compact.

Avery Jackson calls social networks the “fuel” of the motion. “Social media is truly powerful because it enables us to manage the story and get our voices out while connecting to individuals who want similar things,” he stated.

Jackson, 20, a junior at Morehouse College, assisted arrange the #AUCShutItDown coalition of students from Morehouse, Spelman and Clark Atlanta University, and he was among the leaders of recently’s rain-soaked rally. Social media permitted bulk black students at 7 city Atlanta colleges combating similar fights to link and evolve into a core group of more than 100 students called the Atlanta Black Students United (#ATLBSU).

The group has collectively demanded– together with particular demands for each organization– that their schools release a main statement “consenting to take essential action to proclaim the security, justice and equality of their Black students on school, and the Black lives of this nation.” They provided school administrators a November 30 deadline to respond. A few of the schools have, with statements saying they’ve satisfied with students, gone over issues and strategy to work on a few of the problems.

The social media abilities utilized by student lobbyists around the nation are excellent, said Georgianne Thomas, a long time civil rights lobbyist and educator in Atlanta. “Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, I’m on all of it,” she said. “That’s how interaction is done now, that’s how news is spread out.”.

Can social media sustain a motion?

Today’s activists have the exact same interest to make change as they did throughout Thomas’ time in the Civil Rights Motion of the 1950s and ’60s, Thomas stated. “what they don’t have is a central theme, focus and training associated with that. It’s not that they do not wish to have it, it’s just that they have no idea to have it.”.

The immediacy of social networks advocacy does not constantly allow for the methodical planning and organizing that was a tenet of the Civil liberty Motion’s nonviolent civil disobedience, Thomas said. “With social networks you can get the crowds, so you see a lot of individuals coming out feeling so psychological that it’s bring over to their actions. (Onlookers) see a lot of angry individuals and can miss hearing the message.”.

That evaluation exhibits exactly what Kennesaw State student Devyn Springer calls a “little rift” in between some old-school activists who state social networks is not a way of protest and activism.

“In fact, social media is our number one and best medium for making the motion occur,” said Springer, 20, a black student leader requiring modification on his school. Springer mentions last year’s rally in Atlanta at CNN that drew more than 1,000 marchers, consisting of many college students, who gathered in memory of black Missouri teenager Michael Brown, who was killed by a white police officer.

“There are differences in between like Civil liberty Movement activists and current lobbyists and those distinctions are mainly good and are natural based upon the distinctions in time durations,” Springer, 20, said. “The canvassing with brochures and petitioning door-to-door that (was utilized in the Civil liberty Motion) worked for them, but would be impractical now. Every generation has its own approaches that work for them.”.

The contemporary movement.
Numerous of the protests, consisting of the demonstrations versus the handling of racial events at the University of Missouri, have triggered similar student demonstrations and have actually been narrated on social media. Hashtags, the # symbol followed by words, are attached to comments and posts on social media and are a way to rapidly communicate the topic of a post.




#ATLBSU (Atlanta Black Students United).



Jesse Grillo is a Marketing Consultant living in Hermosa Beach, California