BY ISABELLA GROGAN
Print Managing Editor
Recent history has shown how social media plays a role in spreading awareness. People have the ability to post about various different issues going on in the world that they are passionate about. Senior Alyssa Toler said she uses her social media platform to advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves and for policy reform and implementation that will benefit marginalized groups of people.
“I use my platform on social media to post consistent polls, discussions, and reposts on my [Instagram] story that spark important conversations with my followers,” Toler said. “My followers’ opinions are very different, so I am able to have open minded conversations with people who don’t necessarily share the same belief system as I.”
Senior Anya Jackson is involved in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, and said she works with BLMWeston. She said BLMWeston utilized Instagram as their main social media platform because they wanted to encourage a younger audience to become politically active.
“Social media is effective in sharing information because so many people spend hours on their phones,” Jackson said. “Being able to educate people whilst they do something they do everyday is the best way to get information out as fast as possible.”
Government and Economics teacher Hana Casey said she uses social media as a way to spread information about topics such as politics, animals, education, current events and parenting. She said she likes to use Instagram the most because millions of people use the platform.
“Given that more than 79 percent of people in the United States use some form of social media, social media has the largest audience available, surpassing television news and print news distribution, which makes it a great way to spread awareness to issues going on,” Casey said. “With the wide variety of topics people tend to post about, I find it easy to have any number of issues or topics that I can share my experiences and or opinions.”
Toler is heavily involved in the Black Lives Matter movement and often uses social media to spread awareness to the movement.Toler said social media has become a great way to share information. She said using social media allows her to reach more people.
“The Black Lives Matter movement is personal to me because I am a young black woman living in America,” Toler said. “I believe it is my responsibility and the responsibility of others to be consistently holding the local and federal government accountable.”
Jackson said she mostly spreads awareness to the BLM movement. She said her goal is to uplift black voices in the community by informing others about racial equality and local politics.
“These are all things that needed to be talked about along with the fact that more teenagers need to be informed about these things,” Jackson said. “I wouldn’t call myself an activist, I am simply doing what adults should have done a long time ago.”
Casey said that the single most shared topic in her usage of social media is child sex trafficking. She said it is important that there is an awareness about such horrific actions being done to harm children.
“As a sexual abuse survivor from my childhood, I find it extremely important to raise awareness especially since victims are often afraid to speak out,” Casey said. “This is an issue that needs to be brought out into the open so that we can stop these crimes from happening.”
Jackson said she has used social media to help create conversations that were needed. She started posting about specific local occurrences on her Instagram to help meet her goal of having that dialogue.
“Posting about specific local things that have happened opens up the room to educate others about what is happening around them,” Jackson said. “This allowed a well needed conversation in Weston to be talked about.”
Toler was prompted to become an activist due to personal experiences of racism. She said being an activist is personally and requires consistency. She said activism requires constant learning and relating information to ensure the point gets across and is heard.
“Local activism as well as consistent advocacy will make a difference,” Toler said. “Being an activist is not something you do to fit in because although activism is meant to be positive, people who share different opinions can make disheartening comments about what you are passionate about.”