The movement toward grassroots social justice efforts is just one of several benefits of the increased emphasis on interconnectivity in today’s society. Never before has a collective consciousness been so apparent than that which has been established in recent years due to technological development. Being connected in this way has fostered a level of social awareness and a sense of personal responsibility for the greater good that has never before been possible, at least not to this degree. For this reason, grassroots social justice has become the wave of the future.
The development and wild popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is primarily responsible for the power of today’s grassroots social justice movements. Of course, these sites greatly facilitate communication among an organization of individuals passionate about a particular cause. In addition, news about a particular issue or need can spread via social media far more quickly than it ever could through traditional media outlets. Social media also allows people to decide for themselves what they consider important, rather than relying on the staff at major news channels and publications to decide for them.
The impact of this capability can potentially be tremendous. For example, if a disastrous political decision impacts a small marginalized group, their voice may not be heard by traditional means. Once the story is brought to the global community via social media, however, humanity then has the opportunity to do something about the recent change by speaking up for the people that are being affected. This leads to activism on behalf of those who would have otherwise been left to deal with the problem on their own.
Not only does today’s emphasis on grassroots social justice give a voice to the voiceless, it also provides a call to action to those who are capable of creating necessary change. Grassroots social justice is about much more than simply creating widespread awareness of injustice, although that is an important step; its true goal is the elimination of that injustice. Fortunately, as the citizens of this planet become ever more closely connected, this trend will only continue. Instead of facilitating only marketing and casual conversation, the internet has paved the way for a new sense of social responsibility that propels grassroots social justice endeavors like never before.
When FEX began in 1979, the technology was not available. Our early activists relied on community organizing and a shared passion for creating change. As we think about the positive influence of technology in the social justice movement, we are comforted in knowing that financial demographic or social economic status will no longer determine where and how change happens.