The first step in the fight for justice is for people to stop using the internet and start sharing their stories, advocates for civil rights said.
The ACLU of Northern California is spearheading the National Day of Empowerment in the Fight for Justice project, a monthlong nationwide campaign to highlight racial and social injustices faced by communities of color and immigrants.
Organizers hope the project, which will include speeches, a march and other events, will make a difference.
“It is not enough to just focus on the injustices that happen in our communities.
We must also recognize and work toward changing our social media platforms and how we engage with the public,” said Michaela R. Jones, the organization’s executive director.
The day will also include a National Day Against Racism and a Day of Respect for the Law.
“The next step is to reach out to people in the justice system,” Jones said.
“We need to show the world that we are not just standing by and waiting for the police to do their job.”
The National Day for Empowerments in the War Against Racial and Ethnic Injustice was launched in 2016 to push back against racism, violence and discrimination.
“We are at a tipping point,” said Jessica Stern, director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the ACLU of New York.
“There is a sense that people are coming out and speaking up.”
While some may not know it, they are already using social media.
According to the National Press Photographers Association, in 2016 there were more than 1.6 million news photographers in the United States.
It said about 40 percent of them work on the internet, with a higher percentage working from home.
More than 20 percent work from home, with more than a third working from a mobile device.
But the vast majority work from desktops, laptops or mobile devices.
In the first quarter of 2017, there were 3.5 million photos and videos posted on social media, with images reaching nearly 6 billion people, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.
The report also said more than two-thirds of adults say they are worried about being judged based on race and ethnicity.
“There are some who have said they can’t trust social media to be accurate or reliable,” said Stern.
“The challenge is to tell people they are not alone.”
For example, a photo posted by a woman in Chicago in April 2017 showed a woman wearing a hijab covering her face with a scarf.
The photo was captioned: “I can’t imagine living in America without hijab or burqa.
And I have been there.”
The photo sparked an outcry on social networking sites, prompting the woman to delete it and apologize for it.
“I’m sorry I put you in that situation, and I’m sorry that you feel this way,” the woman wrote.
“It was not intentional.”
But Stern said it is not always about the words.
“This is a conversation that is happening in a more subtle way,” she said.
“In this day and age, you have to be careful with what you say or post.
But people are using social platforms more and more and this is one more way they can make a statement.”
The ACLU said that the day also will highlight the role of judges, lawyers, law enforcement and others who are trying to make the world a better place for people of color.
“Judge and jury are the guardians of our democracy,” Stern said.