amandla stenberg on youth activism: "our generation is more than just a hashtag”
The actor looks directly at making change happen in an inspiring essay about the power of social media.
Yesterday, Amandla Stenberg published an op-ed for Teen Vogue championing the unique abilities of their generation to create change through the Internet. They start off by quickly addressing the very common criticism that Millennials and Gen Z-ers are made impatient and self-absorbed by a technology-fuelled world. But Amandla aims to convince us that youth-driven social activism on social media sees true results, despite what studies and older opinions might say.
We've heard it before, and we see it all around us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, so Amandla locks their argument down with a specific example: childhood hunger. One in five children cannot safely count on their next meal, they say, and organisations like No Kid Hungry are desperately needed to step in and create physical change. And while it can feel as though there is a disconnect between online activism and hands-on assistance with such issues, Amandla argues that their generation's excellence in making connections is what speeds up the process as advocates are constantly introduced to one another.
They end the essay by stating, "Our generation is more than just a hashtag." While it can be frustrating to feel that many social media users feel content to stop at just a hashtag, there are also Amandlas out there trying to use those same platforms to connect and to gain the attention of world leaders and policy makers. There's one thing none of us can deny, and it's that change starts with better education, even if that information comes "in 140 characters or less."
Text Blair Cannon
Photography Oliver Hadlee Pearch