Movements to Remember Before We Cast Our Vote: A Recap

We say it every year, but I honestly believe this political cycle (2017- 2018) has been the most active for our generation. In one year, we supported each other through stories of sexual assault, we marched for our lives, and we took a knee when we did not want to stand for racial injustice anymore.

These are all results of hashtag activism, a newly coined term that relates to political movements started and/or supported by the use of a hashtag on Twitter. These hashtag movements have been around possibly since the beginning of Twitter in 2007. However, they arguably did not gain major ground until this political cycle. Movements such as #MeToo, #NeverAgain and #TakeAKnee all surfaced around the last election in 2016.

It is important to remember these hashtags and maybe your own involvement with them before you cast your vote in 2018. Here’s a timeline of everything that went down and who went down with these movements:

September of 2017: #TakeAKnee

The #TakeAKnee movement started when Colin Kaepernick made the clever decision to take a knee during the National Anthem at a football game. His reasoning? He was not going to stand and praise a flag that supported injustice and, more specifically, racial injustice.

Of course, this took everyone by surprise, as the NFL and its players have always been an icon of American culture. Some believe that Kaepernick continued this icon by protesting, which is also a proud American belief. However, others were not too keen on him “disrespecting the flag.” His simple act put the media and people alike in a frenzy.

Thus, the movement to support Kaepernick began, and the movement against Kaepernick was fueled by no other than Trump himself. As he is known to do, he went on Twitter and started bashing Kaepernick and the NFL.

October 15th, 2017: #MeToo

The phrase “Me Too” was coined in 2006 by Tarana Burke, a survivor of sexual assault and an activist, according to The Washington Post. However, it didn’t gain traction until Alyssa Milano, an American actress, asked her followers to post “Me Too” on Twitter if they had ever been sexually harassed or assaulted. This was in light of the Harvey Weinstein accusations, and it got the female world connected once more.

As a young woman watching this movement, I felt like the women of today’s world came together in a way that made them spiritually connected. Together, we stood face to face with the patriarchy. It was a 2.0 edition of the 1970s, and it was beautiful.

And it still is beautiful, nearly a year later. When you cast your vote in November, remember this movement and the millions of women who still stand by each other and believe in the power of each other’s stories. Getting Harvey Weinstein to confess was a major success of this movement, and following that incident was the conviction of Bill Cosby. I would even consider Roy Moore’s loss as a win for the #MeToo movement. Remember how you felt when these events occurred.

February of 2018: #NeverAgain

As a native of South Florida, this movement hit close to home. My dad used to live in Parkland, and his mom had a government position there. I will never forget where I was the day of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and I will never forget the memorials and marches that came after it.

The Parkland survivors fought for their lives; Then, they marched for their lives. Eight months later, they are still marching — thanks to their hashtag activism. The root of their #NeverAgain message is simple: Vote. Vote out the people who allowed for this tragedy to happen, regardless of party affiliation.

It’s important to look at people in office and their responses to tragic events such as this one. Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, disrespected the father of Jaime Guttenberg when he turned his back away from him at a hearing. Steve King, a U.S. representative up for re-election in Iowa, attacked Emma Gonzalez for wearing the Cuban flag at one of the Never Again events.

November of 2018: You casting your vote.

Remember these movements and the feelings you had when you heard about them or possibly got involved with them. Remember how you feel when you mark off the line on the ballot. Remember the lives you could change with your vote. Finally, the most important of all, remember to vote on November 6*.

(*Some counties began early voting on October 22.)