Making the Case For Digital Activism by Jessica Ann Mitchell

Making the Case For Digital Activism: How Social Media Helps Causes by Jessica Ann Mitchell

Digital Activism

The recent Troy Davis case sparked a firestorm of digital outcries. Online protests were launched along with online petitions. Amnesty International collected over 630,000 signatures in support of Davis. Twitter and Facebook were both taken over by hashtags and updates. Millions of people were discussing the case and educating others about it. The Davis case truly became an online phenomenon. Over 40,000 people tuned into Democracy Now’s live stream of the vigil held outside of the Georgia prison that was holding Davis. For many, this was the first time they’d even heard of Democracy Now, a progressive independent source of news. The live stream went viral on Twitter and Amy Goodman was trending worldwide.
During this time period, Davis supporters became a complete digital community in their own right. Many were desperately hoping for Davis to live. Unfortunately, our requests and pleas were denied. This was truly a heartbreaking moment for us all. However, not more than 24 hours after the death of Troy Davis, digital activism naysayers were on the prowl. These naysayers had a clear message, “Digital activism doesn’t work.” The main reason they believe it doesn’t work is because with all of our prayers and protesting, Troy Davis was still killed by the state of Georgia.

Though Davis’ death is a heartbreaking fact, we cannot allow ourselves to sulk in the negativity of, “I told you so,” and “I knew it wouldn’t work.” Truth be told, the reason that Troy Davis died is because Georgia is still a predominantly racist and oppressive state. As a Georgia girl, I know what its like to live in the backwoods of the KKK’s resting den.

However, saying that digital activism doesn’t work is an outright lie founded in lethargic negativity and ignorance of the power of ordinary people. Public support through online petitions and social media outreach played a vital role in making members of the public aware of the injustices occurring. Even though Davis was executed, that doesn’t mean that all of our efforts have gone to waste.

Now the racial discrepancies surrounding the death penalty in the U.S. are becoming more widely addressed. It could even lead to a movement to abolish the death penalty. This case will forever shed light on the prison industrial complex and the death of black men within it. The death penalty debate is now facing a rebirth. Especially after the world witnessed what was essentially a lynching.
In these cases, yes, our voting rights play a vital role in making societal changes. However, before we can vote to make these changes, we must find a means to inform and reach members of the public. The digital era has afforded us the opportunity to distribute this information rapidly.

Digital outcries, protests and petitions are a highly effective means for change. Organizations like ColorOfChange.org have already proved that with their ability to garner public support (much of it digital) in support of the Jena 6, ending Glenn Beck’s televised hate mongering and pressuring the state of Georgia to free Genarlow Wilson. Another organization, Change.org was vital in sustaining a digital campaign that resulted in clemency for a young African American mother convicted of a felony for sending her children to a school outside of their district.

Countless blogs, news articles, Tweets, and Facebook updates by millions of ordinary people around the world also supported these digital campaigns for justice. So you see, digital activism does work. Sometimes when things don’t go the way we want them to go, it’s easy to allow negativity to take control. However, it takes true power and strength to continue pushing on for justice. We have to push for our humanity, “…by any means necessary,” as Malcolm X once stated. Right now the digital era provides a means that presents us with a plethora of opportunities.

In the 1960s, when a small group of students in North Carolina began sit-ins in all white restaurants and a young Baptist preacher was gathering people for marches, it was understood that civil rights wouldn’t magically appear the next day. What they were doing was a start. When things didn’t change immediately there were naysayers saying, “It will never work, “ and “It’s a waste of time.” I’m glad they kept marching instead of succumbing to unproductive negativity.
In 2011, it is time for us to uphold this legacy. With the help of countless organizations and ordinary people the struggle for human rights and freedom continues… And its going digital.

Love, Jessica Ann Mitchell – The Little Black Girl

Jam-The-LBG

Jessica Ann Mitchell is the founder of Black Bloggers Connect an entity of Lamzu Media. Mitchell specializes in multicultural outreach and communications. She also writes on her personal blog at OurLegaci.com. To reach JAM email her at info@OurLegaci.com.

If you believe in the power of people. Please share the link to this article on Twitter and Facebook and let us know about it. We will give you a shout-out on our next article and we’ll link to your blog or website.

About these ads

9 thoughts on “Making the Case For Digital Activism by Jessica Ann Mitchell

  1. I came to this site because I saw an article on Black Enterprise about why Twitter couldn’t save Troy Davis. After reading the article here, I have to say that I feel better. We do have to keep fighting and social media can help.

  2. Pingback: Making the Case For Digital Activism by Jessica Ann Mitchell | Our Legaci | Art and activism | Scoop.it
  3. Pingback: Making the Case For Digital Activism by Jessica Ann Mitchell | Our Legaci | Partecipazione politica e social network | Scoop.it
  4. Pingback: Making the Case For Digital Activism by Jessica Ann Mitchell | Our Legaci | Arrampicata Mon Amour | Scoop.it
  5. Pingback: Making the Case For Digital Activism by Jessica Ann Mitchell | Our Legaci | Turismo conversazionale | Scoop.it
  6. Pingback: Making the Case For Digital Activism by Jessica Ann Mitchell | Our Legaci | L'altra metà dell'ICT | Scoop.it
  7. Excellent piece,

    The internet forstly, cn only be understood as a tool in as much as we know about the reasons for it’s creation:

    1) The internet allows the media to enter our homes
    2) gives immediate acces to information and stories that local and many mainstream medias ignore.
    3). Foolishness, the thing is many cite the internet as being a negative that can reach millions of youth, but i ask can this not be reversed in a similar matter.
    4.) Internet reduces space between radical or activists groups around the world, it is cost effective

    5) Only real setback is that we are easily observed by the powers that be.

    Finally, the internet didnt fail troy. The normacy of America did as JAM stated. It is odd how we place emphasis on the failure of activists opposed to the failure of the ‘leadership’.

    RIP Troy Davis. This was atleast a twenty year battle, and was not lost on the internet but when the jury and court system decided to ignore obvious facts.

  8. Pingback: rivoluzione digitale #1 | Alaska

Speak your mind.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s