We are all slacktivists. Whether we retweet videos of police brutality onto our timelines or like posts because one like equals one prayer, we use social media as a platform to raise awareness for the issues that we care about — and we stop there.
In the wake of tragedies like the terrorist attack in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, we scroll through our social media feeds in the comfort of our homes, reblog posts that we sympathize with and then proceed to carry on with our days, feeling as though we have done our part in making a real difference before eventually forgetting about the issue altogether.
Our thoughts, prayers and retweets are not enough. As a generation, we must stop leaving our involvement at the “like” button and become active in promoting change within our families, social circles and local communities.
Our generation cares deeply about social wrongs — until we actually have to get up and do something about them. A study by The Case Foundation reported that 85 percent of millennials were registered to vote before the 2016 election, while 81 percent said that they were planning on voting. However, an exit poll by Tufts University found that only half of eligible millennial voters actually cast their ballot last November.
Our generation must understand that social justice does not come solely from the amount of retweets a post has; it is a product of people stepping out of their comfort zone and into the field, willing to take an active stand for what they believe in. Without students being outspoken and vocal about symbols of racial hatred, the Jefferson Davis statue would never have been removed from the Main Mall.
From casting your vote in local and national elections to volunteering for an organization within your community, there is always something you can do to help right the wrongs you’re passionate about. If you’re feeling at a loss for how to take action after events like Hurricane Harvey or the mass shooting in Las Vegas, a visit to the Division of Student Affairs website can point you in the right direction for student organizations and events on campus that best fit your belief system.
Change is a bottom-up phenomenon, and it can only be achieved through the work of individuals coming together to work toward a solution. Thoughts and prayers are not substantial or effective, and neither is sharing a post to your timeline. We must be willing to get off of our phones and opt instead to stand and fight for the causes we believe in if we are to have any hope of making any real, lasting difference.
Braaten is a international relations and global studies junior from Conroe.