Using social media as a tool for justice

Panel held at Guelph-Humber discusses relationship between justice and media

On March 19, graduating media studies students at the University of Guelph-Humber hosted a free speaker event looking at how social media has become the platform for social justice.

EMERGE is a multidisciplinary project run by  media studies students at the University of Guelph-Humber. One of the EMERGE events this year, Through Media to Justice, discussed the power of hashtag activism and how social media is being used to spark change, particularly for marginalized groups.

The event was run by a group of seven graduating students in less than 10 weeks and saw more than 115 people in attendance, including two secondary schools, Father Bressani Catholic High School and Madonna Catholic Secondary School, who attended as a field trip to learn more about digital activism.

The panel featured:

  • Holly Jarrett, founder of Canada’s largest social media campaign #AmINext?, who discussed the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and why she started the movement
  • Daniella Barreto, Digital Activism Coordinator for Amnesty International, who described the #BlackLivesMatter movement, racial privilege, and representation in the media
  • Jennifer Flood, member of the federal committee to end gender-based violence and coordinator for sexual violence prevention at Humber College, whose presentation focused on sexual violence and prevention with the rise of #MeToo and #TimesUp and the importance of self-care

When asked why they chose to focus their graduating project on digital activism, Jamie Vergara, executive team member, said: “We recognized the need for all of us to learn about the power and capabilities of social media and the power of the hashtag, so that we can leverage this knowledge to serve as agents of positive change.”

Article by Jamie Vergara

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