Tag Archives: protest

You HAVE The Power

The audience for this blog post is social media users as well as students in this course. The goal of this post is to inform readers about the platforms that social media has been used to form.

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Social media is a powerful tool for anyone and everyone to use. In my last blog, I discussed the importance of DACA and how social media has impacted DREAMERS as well as how they communicate and educate one another (as well as others) about DACA. Social media can be used to not only CREATE a movement but to also FURTHER a cause. For example, the #MeToo movement started with one woman, Tarana Burke. “Ms. Burke created Just Be Inc., a nonprofit organization that helps victims of sexual harassment and assault. She sought out the resources that she had not found readily available to her 10 years before and committed herself to being there for people who had been abused. And she gave her movement a name: Me Too” (1). And the rest is history. Although it did take Tarana’s Me Too movement to gain a lot of speed, it has helped millions of women not only share their stories comfortably but, unfortunately, find common ground with others as well. Black Lives Matter has also used countless hashtags to get their point across whether it be simply, #BlackLivesMatter or #HandsUpDontShoot or even just tweeting out the names of innocent people of color being killed in horrific ways by our police force to make sure that their names are remembered. The most recent hashtag that is being used is #NeverAgain and #EnoughIsEnough which started after the Parkland shooting to call for gun control. These are just a few social movements that I personally can think of that have made impacts maybe not the way that they intended but raised awareness and educated some people as well which is what Castells mentioned in his Networks of Outrage Prelude to Revolution. “Mobile phones and social networks on the Internet played a major role in spreading images and messages that mobilized people in providing a platform for debate, in calling for action, in coordinating and organizing the protests, and in relaying information and debate to the population at large” (p. 46).

Overall, if it’s important to you, speak out, or at least just listen and acknowledge others’ strides to speak out and make a change. It never hurts to listen.

[1] Me Too

#Enough… Calling Students “Dumb”

Audience: Parents and others who support the 2018 Walk Out to remember Parkland school shooting and call for action relating to gun control.

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Thousands of students walked out of their classrooms on Wednesday morning. At 10:00 until 10:17,  they rallied in silent protest and in remembrance of the 17 victims of the Parkland school shooting one month prior. Some students held inspiring signs, other students banded together to form peace signs or phrases like the trending hashtag #enough. There were beautiful blogs and news articles highlighting the walkout…others were strongly against the walkout.

Why is it so hard to pass by with a simple click of the like button and NOT read the comments? It never fails to drag me in. How many times on Wednesday did I stop and put my two cents in when someone says “This is so dumb. Why don’t they do something productive that can actually bring change?” ARG! I feel an overwhelming sense of, I don’t know, rage? And just like that my fingers are on that keyboard like wildfire, feeling like maybe I can just change one person’s mind…unlikely I know, but I just can’t help myself!

These protests are not dumb. These students are working to bring about change. People who don’t believe one person can make a change, let alone a whole generation of students, made me think of the Tunisia Revolution of 2011. In Castells Prelude to Revolution, he tells how one person can indeed make a difference. In Tunisia a man ignited the spark of a revolution by literally setting himself on fire. A little more dramatic than we hopefully need here in the good ole USA.

Support our kids who want to feel safe in their schools. They can’t vote (yet!) so they are asking, begging for our help. Stand with this generation. They are powerful. They will not back down. I won’t either. So go ahead– unfriend me, unfollow me, block me. I’ll keep my thumbs on the ready to defend and encourage the students and other fed up citizens who are fighting for change.

Walk Out or Walk Up?

My audience for this blog series is anyone who is (or should be) concerned by the massive number of school shootings: students, parents, and anyone interested in safety and social justice. I will be focusing on the movements made by high school students who have been taking charge of the fight against gun violence. My goal is to make people think about how they can participate in this fight for life.

walk out

If you’ve watched the news over the past few days you are probably aware of the  Walk Out by students across the country on Wednesday. Sick of nothing being done in Washington about gun violence, teens coordinated the first national student protest on this issue. They hoped to bring an awareness of their voices and of the political power that they will soon hold. And politicians should take note- these teens, users of social media for most of their lives, will soon be old enough to vote and make their voices known at the polls. Boomers and Generation X have so far not been as focused on this topic, and it may be because they were not affected by it personally. And millenials, still a voting minority, have not made much progress with it either in spite of being the Columbine generation. Living in daily fear of school violence is a way of life for students, unfortunately normalized by our political climate and dedication to 2nd Amendment rights. But why isn’t anything being done? Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough anymore, and these students want us all to know that.

But of course there are those with the alternative solution. A solution that so far hasn’t worked. Ryan Petty, a parent of a student recently killed in the Parkland shooting, tweeted that students should Walk Up not Walk Out. In his opinion, walking out is accomplishing nothing beyond the students getting some exercise. His proposed solution would include students “walking up” to loners and making them feel appreciated so they don’t turn into school shooters. This post was in turn shared by thousands of parents across the country who thought students walking out was pointless. But I ask- is this victim blaming? If you aren’t successful with converting this potential shooter and it results in violence, is it your fault? Walk Up shows how out of touch some parents still are with the fear that children are facing, and in this case even includes parents of victims.

Walk Up belittles the point of Walk Out. No one is saying that you can’t walk up to a lonely student and talk to them, but that can be done any other day. This walk out was about the fact that these students want to be heard. They want the adults to help them. They want laws to protect them. They want politicians to represent them. On Wednesday, they didn’t need hugs- they needed voices.

This movement reminds me of Castell’s writings about the Occupy Movement, and there are plenty of similarities. Occupy was “rooted in outrage” (p. 166) which resulted in the fast propagation across the country. Students are clearly outraged about their peers being shot, and that resulted in a successfully organized protest in less than a month after the Parkland, Florida shooting. Everyone needs to be wary of the power that these children will one day hold. Their world is built around social media, and they are not limited to classroom gossip anymore.

We need to listen. Really listen to what they are saying. We may not agree with everything that they are asking for, but with what they have been through, they deserve our ears. Instead of thoughts and prayers we need to think about what we can do to make their world a little safer. So don’t belittle their voices by saying that they should be doing something else instead. Listen.

They will not forget.

It’s All in the Editing

It never fails to be a hot button topic. Abortion. And although it’s only 3% of all the services Planned Parenthood supply, they do in fact supply them. This makes for an oversized target on their back for protest and ridicule.

On their website, #ProtestPP describes themselves as “a coalition of state and national pro-life groups organized in response to the horrifying revelations in summer 2015 that Planned Parenthood has been involved in the illicit trafficking of aborted babies’ body parts.”

Center for Medical Progress, created an undercover video which was proved to be deceivingly edited when the unedited version was released. But the edited version ran amuck amongst pro-lifers and resulted in the #ProtestPP movement.

#ProtestPP wants you to believe that if we defund PP, we will simply allocate the funds to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). These are clinics which provide an array of general care to an underserved population. This is not the bad part. PQHCs are a resource to provide healthcare to those in need, don’t get me wrong, but if you are in MN, you’ll have to travel to Minneapolis or St. Paul to find the majority of them. Planned Parenthood provides services to 19 different cities statewide. Not just urban or extremely underserved areas such as Native American reservations.

#ProtestPP, knows how to persuade their audience into thinking defunding PP is the only option. The extreme bias is shown in the simple statistics noted on their site. 4 out of 5 women will never visit a PP. While PP verbiage is 1 in 4 women WILL. It’s all about the wording folks! We need to acknowledge every protesting social movement is just trying to get the world to see it your way. Even if you have to bend the truth to get there.

The NFL and Police Brutality

The NFL has been amid controversy over the past year or so because players have been taking a knee during the national anthem. The image above is one among many to spark debate over the fans of the NFL. Even the President of the United States had a few words about this, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!” He was referring to Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers.

Kaepernick’s first protest was done in a preseason game during the 2016 and wasn’t brought to attention until a few weeks later. He was questioned by the media and his response was, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.” There were many people outrage by the behavior and threatened to boycott the NFL if the behavior did not cease.

It wasn’t until a year later in 2017 that the protests had gained more traction. Initially, other players around the league did not take action for fear of backlash. However, as time passed players were speaking up against the rising rates of police brutality around the United States. One of the most significant moments that sparked the protest happened in Minnesota. It was the death of Philando Castille by an officer in Falcon Heights, a suburb of Saint Paul.

Whether or not you agree with the protests, it’s important to understand why football players are trying to use their platform, here are two links:

Donald Trump Speech

Colin Kaepernick Timeline