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Activism and COVID-19

Activism groups have always relied on protests and in-person movements to demonstrate their support for social justice causes. From the civil rights movement to climate strikes, in-person events have been the way to make change. So what happens to activism when we can’t protest together?

Lots of things have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. We can’t go outside, we can’t hug each other, and things we once took for granted were proven to be privileges that we can’t afford right now. Social justice causes have been no different than anything else--the way that these movements function had to change, fast. Social media platforms have been used to start movements in recent times, but these platforms became the primary approach to connect with people and make change. COVID-19 hit the United States right at the time of the March For Our Lives protests, which delayed any action that we could do to bring awareness to the cause. We pivoted to an online approach, and the national chapter hosted an online movement called Our Power to continue to fight for gun sense legislation while staying at home. The environmentalism movement, which hosts the majority of its protests on Earth Day in April, followed a similar approach. Locally, @climatestrikeca on Instagram hosted a weeklong event in which they had speakers, spread awareness on important environmental issues through social media. More recently Charlize Theron and her organization, the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, have started a movement called Together For Her that sheds light on the reality of domestic abuse in the COVID-19 crisis. Many celebrities including Melissa Benoist and Natalie Portman are using their platforms to amplify the Together For Her message.

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted communities around the world, yet in this time of fear and uncertainty, activists are still raising their voices to call out injustices and make change. Not only have existing movements continued to flourish, but new movements have begun that spotlight the problems created by COVID-19. Social justice issues haven’t gone away because of the pandemic, and that means that activism hasn’t either. Activists are working around the clock from their homes to ensure that their voices are heard, even in the darkest of times. This crisis has proven that activism will not be confined by any boundaries and people will persist and come together, even if they can’t actually meet. Even more so, the way that activists have responded to this crisis shows that in an increasingly online world, people will still fight for worthy causes. People can come together from all across the world which was not possible in the past. Social justice movements will survive through tumultuous circumstances, and just because we’re all at home doesn’t mean that we can’t make a difference.

For more information on groups making a difference during the pandemic, click here

And for more information on the Together For Her movement, click here

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