Lisa has a wide passion for fighting against social inequity. She is currently completing her MA in Counselling Psychology.
Since the age that I was old enough to understand it, I have always found myself passionate about social equality and social justice theories. Because I grew up in a small city that is primarily comprised of white citizens, I was not exposed to a lot of blatant acts of prejudice or discrimination until I moved to Toronto for university. Not only was exposure to acts of discrimination, specifically racism, quite sparse, but so was the access and availability to education regarding systemic oppressions. Due to this, my interest in social equity had to be expanded under my own circumstances. This interest in equity research continued into my university career where I am currently completing my minor in Gender and Women’s Studies. Not only am I interested in studying social justice theories in order to graduate, but also because the Black community specifically continues to be put under a harsh regime of bigotry and hatred all around the world, even in places that have a primarily Black population (e.g. the End SARS Protests that are currently happening in Nigeria). I remain to believe that one is personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society that they grew up in, and that is why I am here.
I have always been a fanatic for social media (and I will admit that I am addicted). Although I do use it for personal entertainment, a majority of my posts on a variety of different social media platforms are related to social justice in order to raise awareness and start conversations about the tragic range of inequities that remain to occur globally. Despite the fact that I am spreading this information behind a screen, it still remains a form of activism just in a more passive manner than say engaging in an in-person protest. Just as Hillstrom states, “there is no doubt that [social media] activists maximized the utility of the resources at their disposal” (59), and that “social media has been critical in the knitting together of a national narrative of police violence and abuse.” (57). I have experienced a plethora of hate messages due to my radical messages across the internet and have even lost some family and friends over their disagreements with my digital activism. It does indeed sadden and distemper me when I become aware that there are people who I once associated myself with that do not stand for or even realize the importance of extending information about the importance of minoritized lives. Overcoming this, I realize that the spreading of knowledge regarding cultural, political, and social discourses remains a priority for me as it negatively impacts so many lives and all people deserve the same quality of life regardless of their personal identifications. Afterall, advocacy means going beyond conversing with those who already agree with you. On a more positive note, I have also experienced a plethora of compassionate and gracious messages, thanking me for continuing to raise my voice about equity issues and for attempting to widen the range of people that are informed about certain issues. I recognize that I will never fully understand some aspects of discrimination as I have my own set of privileges. What remains important for me in this case is letting those who remain not so privileged know that I stand with them and persist in allyship in attempting to make those in abuse of their power uncomfortable.
Hillstrom, Laurie Collier. “The Role of Social Media.” Black Lives Matter: A Guide to an American Subculture, by Laurie Collier Hillstrom, ABC-CLIO, LLC, 7 Sept. 2018, pp. 76–85.
© 2020 Lisa Hallam