Teens tackle social issues through activism and awareness

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Anapaula Camou and Lauren Lara

Due to the uprising of many social and political issues, many teens have increasingly started using their social media platforms to speak out and inform others about such crucial issues. 

Senior Mariana Aguirre started using social media as a form of activism when the Sudan crisis sparked last year. 

“When the crisis with Sudan happened and everyone was posting information about it on Instagram, I decided to start posting information about it as well,” Mariana said. “I put posting off for about a year and once the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests started happening that’s when I started posting frequently.” 

She said that she likes to share and post infographics because those are the most informative and get the point across easily, adding that she believes that speaking out about social issues is just as important as posting about them to get information across. 

BLM is not the only issue that concerns teens as they’ve seen an uprise to activism on social media platforms.

“I think definitely police brutality is what started increasing social media activism the most, as well as the BLM movement and immigration reform,” Mariana said. 

Sophomore Rui Camou added, “I believe that it is best for people to talk about these issues in person to better get information across without it being misunderstood.”

Getting informed from a variety of sources outside of social media is something teens like Rui recognize can help advance public discourse.

“Reading books and articles from reliable sources is better than obtaining information from social media accounts that are most likely not a reputable source,” Rui said. “I do believe that people should not shy away from talking about important issues though, it’s important to bring light and to bring awareness to even the most negative topics.”

Senior, Sigrid Martinez said that she started using her social media platform on Instagram to speak out about social issues when the pandemic started. 

“I started posting more over the pandemic and I started reading more and it definitely spiraled to many other issues that I thought should be talked about a lot more,” Sigrid said, adding how opposing views have derailed friendships. “There’s gonna be certain people who are still against certain movements or views but I try educating them but I haven’t lost friends but I have lost some acquaintances because of it.”

Others may feel that they are not receiving reliable information and social media accounts differ from news sources.

“It is important to fact check what information you’re looking into because some of it may not be totally true so it’s best to look over what they said and maybe the sources they used,” Sigrid said. 

In this election year, many new voters have also participated in social media activism in order to spread the word about voting or their preferred candidates standards. 

Sigrid added that she thinks it’s very important to spread information about social and political issues that are very important like voting by mail. 

“Because of everything that has been happening since quarantine, I think it’s important to educate others about what is going on and issues that may concern them,” Sigrid said. “Since young people can be very influential, it’s important to give us a voice and to have resources to educate ourselves about important issues.”