Over the past weekend, the second annual Women’s March was held across the nation only 12 hours after the shutdown of the US government. In Washington D.C, there hundreds of thousands of people marching. For the second time in history women were able to have their grievances heard on a worldwide platform and that’s all thanks to founder of the 2017 March Tamika Mallory. Mallory has been a political activist for many years now but after the 2016 election, which left many feeling powerless, she took her voice to social media and began planning a revolution.
Mallory obviously hasn’t been the first to plan a march that drew a monumental crowd. The most notable being the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a Dream” speech to more than 250,000 people or even the Moratorium March Again the Vietnam War which drew in nearly 500,000 people. However, Mallory is notable because she used social media to create one of the first worldwide marches that drew close to 5 million people.
The night after the 2016 election many women took to social media to voice their issues and it was there Mallory found her co-chairs Bob Bland, a prominent fashion designer, Linda Sarsour, a well known political activist, and Carmen Perez, a criminal justice reform advocate and built a campaign over social media, naming it aptly after the original March on Washington. All it took was a Facebook event page and soon thousands of women were signed to march. Women from all walks of life came together to voice empowerment and intersectionality. The movement grew so large that the mainstream media began to cover it as well. Celebrity speakers such as Madonna and America Ferrera rallied the crowd, and those who couldn’t make it to Washington made posts on Instagram about marches in their cities. Social Media made it easier for everyone to be involved in activism.
However, this was only the beginning the Women’s March fueled a discussion about women’s rights and soon led into the famous #MeToo Movement. Through social media women now began feeling comfortable sharing their experiences and expressing that enough was enough when it came to sexual harassment. This eventually came right back to the Women’s March of 2018 where the focus now lied in encouraging women to go to the polls. This event also drew a massive crowd thanks to the ever present social media campaign.
Even though the 2018 Women’s March has ended it is clear the fight for equality has not. Social Media is making it that much easier for people to get involved in activism and speak what’s on their mind. We have seen the negative effects of social media with the fake news scams and nationalist riots, but nonetheless social media is here to stay. The political landscape is ever changing and it will be interesting to see how social media adapts alongside it.