Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Importance of Social Media in Spreading Your Message

Although we’ve heard the term ‘slacktivism’ being discussed on a national level to identify people whose activist and advocacy efforts start and end online, community activists are eagerly looking for ways to open a dialogue through various platforms in order to raise awareness of the issues they advocate for, gain support and a following, and connect and collaborate with other professionals. So the question many activists, non-profit professionals, and advocates are puzzled by is, how do we utilize social media and an online presence effectively and have our efforts not be misinterpreted as ‘slacktivism’? 

Through blogs, engaging Facebook posts, informative tweets, and LinkedIn professional connections and updates, non-profits are finding ways to educate and involve community members in the issues and causes they advocate for. Young activists are constantly doing a checks and balances of what they say online, what articles they post, and what causes they advocate for via the web. Activists, not slacktivists (and we must be sure to make that distinction) are so careful to ensure that their online presence and what they discuss through their social media platforms are genuine and are supported by their passion to inform and educate others on societal ailments, political changes, cultural shifts, and community issues that affect our world every single day. And because 72% of online adults use social networking sites on a regular basis, activists and non-profit professionals have to keep up with the fast-paced and constantly shifting society we live in and one way of keeping that up is to engage in social media (Pew Research Study). Updating social media platforms to meet the quickly changing world we live in is imperative in creating a strong and informed following and in maintaining a legitimate and well-respected organization. Because of the amount of people on social media, non-profits and other social/environmental justice organizations must maximize their online efforts in order to reach as many people as they can in hopes of educating a larger citizenry, maintaining supportive donors, and finding eager and passionate community members to possibly employ. Social media and online networking give leverage to grassroots organizations and non-profits that need all the support and positive contributions they can get. Their financial footing is not as rooted as for-profit companies and their support and power isn’t innate – it’s something that grows, develops, and cultivates over time. Non-profits and grassroots organizations exist for the purpose of meeting community needs, developing a more educated and informed citizenry, promoting social and environmental causes, and alleviating and solving problems that are violating, restricting, and impeding on the lives of others. 

So, yes, activists can’t just rely on social media and online networking to spread their message, gain support, sustain donations, and inform the general public, but activists can use social media as a platform and as a virtual megaphone for issues they care about and are passionate about seeing others rally around. Social media is not a means to an end, but it’s a pathway for supporters, critics, and community members to connect and open dialogues that can help spark community and societal change. 

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“I Say the Smarter the Girl, the Stronger Our World”

“Ensuring girls around the world get to go to school doesn’t just take money — it also requires the universal belief that women deserve equal access to education. Malala Yousafzai almost lost her life working to give a voice to girls who were banned by the Taliban from being educated in her home country of Pakistan. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and she has inspired countless people worldwide to stand up for what they deserve.”

“The refrain of this song features young girls singing “I am Malala,” which I love because it reminds me of the great Martin Luther King Jr. quote: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'”

Check out the song here: Upworthy 

MassBudget Update

MassBudget Update

Latest update from MassBudget.

Throwback Thursday: Haley House’s PeaceQuilt Project Event

Throwback Thursday: Haley House's PeaceQuilt Project Event

For Community Works’ #throwbackthursday, we’re throwing it back to November 14th when Haley House hosted a reception for “Beyond the Square” Haiti PeaceQuilts Exhibit. “The PeaceQuilts Project is enabling Haitian women to earn a living through meaningful, creative work – improving their lives and those of their families.”

Thank you Haley House for supporting such a wonderful and impactful initiative!

To learn more visit: http://www.haitipeacequilts.org/

Sending a Big Thanks to the Boston Women’s Fund

Last week, the Boston Women’s Fund hosted their annual open house where supporters and advocates were able to meet some of their grantees as well as hear about the work that they do. 

The Boston Women’s Fund “works with low-income women, immigrant women, women of color, lesbians, women with disabilities, older women, and girls who are struggling to create a society based on racial, social and economic justice. The Boston Women’s Fund raises from a broad base of donors across economic backgrounds to provide grants and develop programs that strengthen the grassroots initiatives and leadership of women and girls.” (bostonwomensfund.org)

Thank you Boston Women’s Fund for supporting Community Works and spreading our name and mission throughout your community of supporters and advocates! 

 

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Emerson College Students Serve Over Spring Break

By, Dylan Manderlink (Community Works Communications Intern and Alternative Spring Break Trip Leader)

Every year, a leadership team comprised of Emerson College students plans and organizes four Alternative Spring Break trips. Alternative Spring Break is an opportunity for Emerson students to travel to an area of the United States that they may not be familiar with, work alongside people within a local community in need, and learn more about the everyday social injustices and societal ailments that many communities in our country face. Each year four different trip leaders are selected along with the service projects they proposed and independently planned.

This March, the four Alternative Spring Break service trips are to:

Detroit, Michigan – Exploring the topic of shrinking cities and the economics of poverty

Joshua Tree, California – Helping with trail conservation and the importance of maintaining the natural beauty of National Parks

Eagle Butte, South Dakota – Volunteering with the Cheyenne River Youth Project – an essential youth and family services center that is integral to the Lakota reservation’s support system. This trip will also examine and explore he creation of reservations and the different tribes that exist across the country today, the recent Native American history of boarding schools and the declining state of reservations’ public school systems, The American Indian Movement and sovereign rights, and social justice issues current reservations face (i.e cultural appropriation, the high percentages of infant mortality, alcoholism, and depression, and the high level of poverty).

Boston, MA – Focusing on children & family homelessness and urban poverty

Alternative Spring Break is an enriching opportunity for students to get more involved outside of their community, learn more about the importance of service learning and civic engagement, and to better understand and help improve the lives of others.

ASB needs to raise over $10,000 before March and we need your help! Since Community Works is such an advocate for social justice and bettering the community you live and work in, Emerson’s Alternative Spring Break group is looking to supporters of social justice and community service to give whatever they are able.

To learn more visit: www.facebook.com/EmersonASB

To give, please visit (and type in ‘Alternative Spring Break’ in the box where it asks who to donate to): www.emerson.edu/giving

To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project (the service trip I’m leading) please visit: Cheyenne River Youth Project

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Terminally ill girl, 16, whose inspirational Cover Version of Katy Perry’s Roar Went Viral Dies of Cancer

Terminally ill girl, 16, whose inspirational Cover Version of Katy Perry’s Roar Went Viral Dies of Cancer

“The terminally ill teenager whose version of Katy Perry’s Roar captured the heart of the nation after it went viral has died. Olivia Wise, 16, from Toronto, lost her fight with brain cancer on Monday. Her family released a statement saying that she ‘died peacefully in her home surrounded by the extraordinary love of her family’. The teenager said that she didn’t want people crying at her funeral, but that they should celebrate her life, her mother wrote in a letter to CNN.”

Massachusetts Senior Action Summer Protest Creates Change

“Armed with a metaphor of being imprisoned at home due to inequitable fares for The Ride paratransit service, Mass Senior Action Council (MSAC) members blocked traffic in front of the MA Transportation Building on August 14 with a mock jail cell. Video courtesy of Statehouse News Service.” (via youtube)

Learn more at: http://www.masssenioraction.org/

https://www.ipledgeonline.org/_emerson/

https://www.ipledgeonline.org/_emerson/

Since its founding in 1982, Community Works has been committed to supporting groups doing groundbreaking and critical social justice work in Boston and Massachusetts. Our members have been pioneers in women’s health education, domestic Violence prevention, addressing issues of race, class and poverty.

Join us in making our community work today by supporting Community Works and its members. If you attend or work at Emerson College, please visit their donation website and help give back on #GivingTuesday!