By Crystal Trillo
Millennials are widely known for how much they use social media. Hunched over a screen, they are constantly connected to the world. However, despite common negative perceptions of millennials’ use of social media, they have helped spark a rise in using social media as a platform for social change.
Millennials like Emma Gonzáles and Sonita Alizadeh, for example, have used the influence and capacity of social media to call attention to issues like gun violence and human rights issues and to show there are steps that can be taken to make a change.
Emma Gonzáles rose into the public eye after the fateful Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14. Co-founder of Never Again MSD, Gonzáles and her fellow survivors have become activists in obtaining better gun control in the United States.
Gonzáles uses her Twitter to share information about events like the Road to Change rally for the March for Our Lives movement as well as “retweeting” other pages relating to currents news regarding gun control. In her essay for Harper’s Bazaar, Gonzáles wrote, “We are tired of being ignored. So we are speaking up for those who don’t have anyone listening to them, for those who can’t talk about it just yet, and for those who will never speak again.”
Likewise, Sonita Alizadeh is a human rights activist speaking out against forced child marriage. Nearly forced into a marriage herself, Alizadeh decided to express her opposition by posting a music video of her rapping on YouTube about the damage that forced child marriage does to a young girl. Her song titled “Bride for Sale” went viral and has led to a bigger conversation about forced child marriage across the globe.
Alizadeh has teamed up with The Strongheart Group to end child marriage. Posted on their joint website, Alizadeh has stated, “The world is full of young people with bright minds and big hopes. Imagine what could happen if all the girls being forced into marriage could instead make their dreams come true.”
While it can be a source for memes and the latest funny videos, social media has become a source for millennials to access serious news topics relating to social issues that are happening around the globe.
Social media has become a platform for young people to speak their minds and start to make a difference. Young people like Emma Gonzáles and Sonita Alizadeh have proved that it doesn’t take much to be brave and get the conversation going with a simple post or like.