#HashtagActivism in the VA Programs

By Pallavi Rudraraju, VA Middle School Program Coordinator

Photos courtesy by Pallavi Rudraraju

This week, AALEAD youth in Fairfax County learned about Hashtag Activism, a form of Digital Organizing.

Hashtags are a way to organize digital posts on social media, and in the last few years, hashtag activism has boomed. One of the first major hashtag movements was #BlackLivesMatter, and since its rise many campaigns have organized and spread their messages through hashtags on social media.

The reason for hashtag activism’s rise and popularity is simple. Hashtag activism is:

  • An organizing tool
  • A conversation starter
  • Accessible

In programs, AALEAD youth learned about hashtag activism’s pros and cons and even created their own hashtag movements. Hashtags among middle and high school youth ranged from #WeAreNotTheOnlyOnes – a cry for human intervention in climate change – to #RainbowLove – an LGBTQ+ positivity and acceptance campaign – to #MyCultureIsImportant – a message about the importance of cultural understanding.

One thing is clear from our workshops this week: young people are active participants in today’s global society. Our AALEAD youth are becoming increasingly aware of the injustices around them and are feeling the agency to act. While activism movements have always been bolstered by the energy of the youth, with the rise of social media and hashtag activism, youth can create and lead movements on their own.

Here’s to being the change we wish to see in the world!

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