Using social media for social justice

Jack Monell
Dr. Jack S. Monell ’05. Photo by Garrett Garms, Winston-Salem State University.

Growing up in the housing projects of New York City, Dr. Jack Monell ’05 could not get one question out of his mind: “Why does it seem like this community is stuck in a rut?”

Monell, a PhD in Human Services 澳门赌场500 Internal Server Error

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error and was unable to complete your request. Either the server is overloaded or there is an error in the application.

“I was always aware of these issues and working to help individuals affected by them, but once social media became part of the conversation, I was struck by the enormity of the problem,” Monell says. Movements such as Black Lives Matter—which began with a hashtag and led to chapters of activists across the nation—have shone a light on these injustices in a new way.

“Every day, you see the abuse and social disparities taking place across the country that didn’t get press coverage before,” he says. “There is a nationwide movement to increase awareness and redress these wrongs, and social media has become a tool to encourage people to take action.”

Winston-Salem State University students protest for the release of Kalvin Michael Smith
Winston-Salem State University students protest for the release of Kalvin Michael Smith. Photo by Garrett Garms, Winston-Salem State University.

Monell has seen the power of social media activism firsthand. “In 2016, students at WSSU and Wake Forest University started a social media campaign to advocate for the release of Kalvin Michael Smith, a black man who had been wrongfully incarcerated for 20 years,” he says.

“That campaign spurred marches and protests, significantly increasing the visibility of the cause,” Monell says. “I believe that played some part in his release from prison. It’s a great example of how students can gather information and move with it. They started a movement that worked with the constructive use of social media.”

Passion is important, but Monell reinforces the importance of thinking critically about where the movement comes from and where it’s going rather than getting caught up in emotions alone. In one of his classes, students work together to identify a social injustice, go into the community to research its effects, and present how they would solve the problem if they had unlimited resources.

This project recently led to a partnership with a local retiree group, which will help students learn about ageism. They will then work to educate their peers and the community about the stereotypes older people face.

“A lot of people feel intimidated by marching or protesting, but there are other ways to express yourself,” Monell says. “Find the best modality to protest, one that works for you. Use your gifts and strengths to speak up. Make small sacrifices, and you’ll be surprised how everyone’s small actions add up to bigger change.”

Walden Alumni, Capitalize on Your Momentum

Continue your personal and professional growth with Walden. Learn more about tuition discounts and other benefits for Walden alumni.
Man sitting at latop
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Talk to your personal enrollment specialist for more information today. Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.
Talk to your personal enrollment specialist for more information today. Please use our Domestic Form if you live in the U.S.
*Required Field
Academic Interests
Required
Required
Are you or your spouse an active or retired U.S. military service member?
Contact Information
Required
Required
Invalid email address
Please provide a valid phone number
Required
Please provide a valid zipcode
Required
Additional Information
Required
Get Started

By submitting this form, I agree to receive emails, text messages, telephone calls, and prerecorded messages from or on behalf of Walden University and its affiliates as listed in the Privacy Policy regarding furthering my education. I understand that such calls, emails, and messages may be sent using automated technology. You may opt out at any time. Please view our Privacy Policy or Contact Us for more details.

Required

By checking this box, I agree to receive emails, text messages, telephone calls, and prerecorded messages from or on behalf of Walden University and its affiliates as listed in the Privacy Policy regarding furthering my education. I understand that such calls, emails, and messages may be sent using automated technology. You may opt out at any time. Please view our Privacy Policy or Contact Us for more details.