While in college, all I could think about was strategizing a way to create a civil rights’ movement that would not fizzle out over time. The biggest roadblock was not having anybody to use as a sounding board. The constant struggle to connect to fellow Latinos who were passionate about creating change ended when I unlocked the power of social media.
I always figured I was technologically savvy, but I was flat out wrong about my social media skills. I was under-utilizing the power of social media outlets. The more I began to research and “become one” with the online Latino community, I discovered a modern day underground railroad via the internet! Okay, there is no Harriet Tubman, but it does allow for like-minded activists to come together, regardless of geographical differences.
The online community of Latino movers and shakers are making my dream of a modern civil rights movement a reality. By using the Chicano Movement of the 1960s as a springboard, present-day Latino leaders can mobilize a revolution that uses what worked in the past, while leaving behind what did not.
The first step to improving upon where the Chicano Movement left off is uniting Latinos. Rather than splintering into subgroups, talking to one another will create a unified understanding of all Latino communities. Honest communication will ultimately lead to building goals that serve the entire Latino population.
Secondly, we need new fresh leaders, not those from my grandparents’ movement. It is time for leaders of the sixties to let young educated people take the forefront in creating change.
Lastly, we must understand as a population that militant demonstrations and stances are not going to woo anybody over anymore. They scare people. How would you feel if you were not a part of the fastest growing sector of the population and, to top it off, all that you ever saw depicted in the media were images of them in militant garb?
The sleeping giant, the Latino population, is undeniably being awaken online. One caveat that I must highlight is the fact that a person must enter social media knowing that simply clicking on a button cannot create the change that our population requires. It is simply the first step. Once immersed in social media, it is the individual’s responsibility to take the knowledge gained online and implement it in their communities. I am hopeful that social media will continue to move beyond being a place to virtually socialize. It has the power to also be a place for Latinos to enact positive social change.
Ces’Ari (pronounced Chez-ah-ree) earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine, and a M.Ed. from Arizona State University, while simultaneously balancing writing and marriage. Read more about Ces’Ari on her personal blog.