The Power of Solidarity -- Engaging our Complete Identities
I owe a lot to the internet. Web 2.0 gives me the power of solidarity, the knowledge that even though I may face daily situations and conversations where I’m left feeling frustrated and drained, as if I’m fighting a losing battle, I can find a lot of progressively minded people creating online safe spaces for these kinds of progressive discussions. I have definitely had those days, where a facebook status or random joke from a friend will expose how far we still have to work on many issues like sexism, racism, and classism. Yet I can always turn to my favorite website or blog and have my batteries recharged by the progressive energy of activists. That is the biggest gift Web 2.0 has given me, and it’s not a small one. It has truly helped my mental well-being to connect to people working towards a more equitable society.
Everyday that I engage with Web 2.0, be it by posting an article on facebook, writing a blog post on my tumblr, my personal wordpress blog, my school’s feminist blog, or writing a comment on youtube, I am being more honest and complete about my identity. Web 2.0 gives me a chance to discuss parts of myself I would be afraid to even with, or truly especially with, my family. I can talk about my tattoos, my pansexual identity, my veganism, my political stances, or my vulnerabilities in a way I could never do around the dinner table, and that has been a process that I have cherished.
What I most want to challenge, and something that I think platforms like World Pulse are actively challenging, is the idea that these tools aren’t part of real life, that they are somehow less valid or are contained entirely or even primarily on the web. Online media gave me knowledge about a lot of topics I was woefully unaware of, and also made me realize that there are a lot of other people *out there* who thought similarly to me. This helped cement my beliefs and made me more vocal in my everyday life about issues I think are important. That’s because sites like tumblr or youtube don’t just teach me facts; they teach me tactics for conversing about these issues in real life, and this has given me the confidence to actually speak up in offline situations.
One huge benefit of web 2.0 is that it theoretically connects people from all corners of the world under common interests and beliefs. However, I think that like in most areas of activism, we have to be mindful of actively engaging underrepresented voices. Again, this is part of what I like about World Pulse’s mission, because it seeks to amplify the voices of a multitude of people, including those from a variety of countries and backgrounds. This is a process I am equally excited to begin.