Active learning is very beneficial in all levels of learning since it is very beneficial to learners, such as helping in enhancing the learner’s engagement in class. Active learning involves learning to understand certain issues and practically participating in various activities that are part of learning. This paper involves both learning and doing, and the learning activity involves research of a social movement group, Black Lives Matter, and delivers my personal experience as a volunteer in a political campaign.
Comprehension: Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter is a global social movement started in 2013 in the United States intending to stand against racism and anti-black violence, particularly police brutality. Black lives Matter name represents the condemnation of unjust killings of black people by the police in the U.S. and the demand that the community value the lives and humanity of black people just like they value the lives and humanity of white people (Britannica, 2020). The phrase Black Lives Matter highlights the racism, discrimination, and inequality that black people experience. The activists of the movement have held large and influential protests in cities across the U.S. and internationally. The movement’s main objective is to stop police brutality and fight for courts to treat black people equally. The movement’s demand for equality also includes mental health and voting rights. The movement wishes to bring awareness to police violence against women, queer and trans folks (Buchanan et al., 2020). Women have been significant in the movement and also ensuring that the fight against police brutality that hurts black bodies is conducted regardless of identity, gender, and sexual orientation.
To engage people in the fight against police brutality against black people, the movement conducts hundreds of grassroots protests in different cities across the U.S. using the phrase Black Lives Matter. Besides, the group utilizes social media to frame its cause and communicate with its adherents. The Black Lives Matter movement recognizes the influence of social media since digital media is the foundation of the group’s beginning story. Using the Black Lives Matter hashtag on social media platforms drives heated conversations between the movement activists and their supporters and opponents on the social media platforms. The movement has an Instagram account that has more than 4.2 million followers, a Twitter account with approximately one million followers, and a Facebook page with more than 750,000 followers. In addition, the movement uses Email to send emails to people creating awareness of the movement’s goal (Faust et al., 2019). Currently, the movement has more than 1.9 million recipients. The movement also has a website blacklivesmatter.com which has more than a million visitors looking for educational resources and information about the fight against racism and discrimination. The information shared by the movement on their website has impacted millions of people across the globe, whereby great numbers of the website visitors are from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, India, Netherlands, Brazil, and Sweden.
The movement uses different tactics to reach people and create awareness against discrimination against black people. The movement’s tactics include conducting campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pandora. For instance, as part of the campaign in 2020, the movement developed a video advert known as ‘Now We Transform,’ which was live on the movement’s YouTube page. This ad gained many views and impressions since it sought to do away with the white sovereignty which is always catalyzes the fierceness exacted on black societies (Bowman et al., 2021). Besides, the movement has created petitions that call for the end of systemic racism, making corruption and state violence permissible. Also, the movement creates national conversations by creating infographics on how to defund the police and demanding more investment in education, mental health, and non-punitive community-led systems and programs. These tactics used by the movement in form campaigns have been successful since they gained a lot of impressions. Also, the movement uses artistic work in its campaigns and social media to encourage collective visioning of the movement. The movement partners with artists to produce artistic work, which helps spark conversations among the people to communicate that all lives matter regardless of color. The movement has an engaging political message that entails informing the candidates that they cannot win the elections without enthusiastically supporting the black people. They believe that the political candidates require both black and white people for them to win the elections. Besides, the movement also requires people to vote for black people and allow them to be in the leadership since they are not different from the white people (Dunivin et al., 2022). The movement believes that giving black people the opportunity to lead shows equality and the end of racism and discrimination they are fighting against.
I learned about the group through Facebook. The group has been active and has many followers using the hashtag blacklivesmatter, influencing people to end racism and stand against police brutality on black people caused by white supremacy. The group is very active in its online presence since it uses different platforms to communicate its goals (Roberts, 2018). On Facebook, the group always updates ads that are about redeeming black people from discrimination based on color. The group requires more people to join the group and continue fighting for the rights of the black people. Compared to other groups I have participated in, the group is more active and determined to attain its goal. Besides, the group demonstrates equality by ensuring no participant feels left out in the group’s discussions and events. The group is exceptional since it accommodates all kinds of people, including women, those in LBTQ, and white and black people. Also, the group appreciates diversity and allows people from different cultures to join and support the group’s core objectives. This makes the group effective since it demonstrates equality within itself, which it is fighting for. Thus, the group acts as an example of what it needs around the globe by showing the public that every life matters.
Action: Volunteering for a Political Campaign
Volunteering for a political campaign involves making phone calls, sending text messages, and canvassing door-to-door to campaign for a political candidate (Zimmer et al., 2016). All election campaigns rely on volunteers to spread grassroots enthusiasm about their candidate and cause. Political elections are very competitive, and therefore, many voters rely on the influence of volunteers to know which candidate makes the best leader (Strömbäck & Kiousis, 2014). Thus, political volunteers are essential since they can influence people to vote for a good or bad leader. This is because most voters are influenced by what they tell them concerning a particular candidate.
I chose to become a volunteer in the political campaign to influence the potential voters to vote for the appropriate leader that would bring changes and growth to our nation. To attain my goal, I chose to use digital technology, including applications and social media platforms, to reach more people. My goal was to form different online supporters groups and spread the right information concerning the best leader that would benefit each citizen if voted. I also was determined to curb other volunteers from spreading fake news and misinforming the voters concerning different political candidates (Irawan, 2018). In addition, I was ready to engage in different political movements, which involved creating campaign messages through different creative media, fundraising, and reaching the community directly. Also, I was seeking to create long-term relationships with people in my neighborhood. This would help the public develop an emotional relationship with me and support me in all initiatives I decide to start that are beneficial to them. I was also determined to encourage the people to remain peaceful during the election period and avoid fights based on tribalism and focus on choosing a leader that meets their aspirations. I decided to volunteer and advocate for our county senator for various reasons. First, the senator wanted to improve the education status in our county by ensuring all children get a quality education when elected. The senator was ready to offer sponsorship to needy children to support them in gaining education and offer support to all students in the form of bursaries despite their status. Besides, the candidate was ready to bring changes in the community by ensuring the region has quality healthcare institutions with enough healthcare professionals and medicine. The other goal he had for the county was to create employment opportunities for the youths in the region by ensuring there is no corruption in case of a job opportunity and opening more firms that would help create more jobs in the region. Another reason that made me support the candidate is his good character high integrity and generosity that he demonstrated when he was president of the university by ensuring that the rights of the students are adhered to and supporting the needy university students through organizing donations to support their education. Additionally, he has strong leadership qualities supported by his leadership experience since his childhood. He has led people at different levels and demonstrated good leadership qualities, and therefore I was convinced he was the best leader as a senator in our county.
I engaged in various efforts to shape the public image of the senator I was supporting. I used banners to advocate for the senator by letting people know his manifesto and why he is the best candidate for the senatorial seat. Also, I collected feedback from the public on whether he is the best candidate and, if not, why. I also mobilized voters to participate in voting so as to ensure the right leaders were elected. This includes educating the public on the importance of voting and its benefits. This encouraged many people to desire to participate in elections through voting. What I did was effective since it changed the mentality of many people who were not ready to vote and developed the zeal to vote for the right leaders. The volunteering process was very engaging since I learned so many beneficial things concerning politics. I also was able to develop a network with potential future leaders and the opportunity to change the people’s opinions politically. In the future, I would love to participate in political campaigns as a volunteer since it is an exciting experience and also a learning platform.
The learning part involves research on Black Lives Matter, a movement that was started in 2013 in the United States to protest against police brutality toward black people. The movement activists wanted to create awareness that all lives matter, not only of black people, and therefore people should stand against discrimination in terms of race, gender, tribe, and even sexual orientation. The movement has promoted its activities through various means, including different digital media outlets like Instagram and also Emails . In the action part, I volunteered in a political campaign where I advocated for the senatorial candidate in our county. Besides, I also was looking forward to educating the citizens on the importance and benefits of participating in elections such as voting.
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Britannica. (2020). Black Lives Matter – Subsequent protests: George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Black-Lives-Matter/Subsequent-protests-George-Floyd-Ahmaud-Arbery-and-Breonna-Taylor
Buchanan, L., Bui, Q., & Patel, J. K. (2020, July 3). Black Lives Matter May Be the Largest Movement in U.S. History. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/03/us/george-floyd-protests-crowd-size.html
Dunivin, Z. O., Yan, H. Y., Ince, J., & Rojas, F. (2022). Black Lives Matter protests shift public discourse. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(10). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2117320119
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Roberts, F. L. (2018, July 13). How Black Lives Matter Changed the Way Americans Fight for Freedom. American Civil Liberties Union. https://www.aclu.org/blog/racial-justice/race-and-criminal-justice/how-black-lives-matter-changed-way-americans-fight
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Zimmer, A., Smith, D. H., & Alijla, A. (2016). Political Parties and Political Volunteering/Participation. The Palgrave Handbook of Volunteering, Civic Participation, and Nonprofit Associations, 495–515. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-137-26317-9_24