For all its flaws, social media has one thing going for it—transparency. All over Twitter, women are posing with signs that say #AmINext. Why? To pressure a seemingly apathetic government to do something for mercy's sake about all those missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
As with #YesAllWomen, Holly Jarrett started this latest social media campaign to draw attention to the plight of women like her cousin, Loretta Saunders, who was murdered. Jarrett also started a Change.org petition, and aims to reach 500,000 signatures in the hopes of getting the attention of PM Harper and his cohorts. But will her plea fall on deaf bureaucratic ears?
"In support and memory of our 1,200 murdered Indigenous women in Canada....I am posting this picture," wrote Jarrett on her Facebook page. "I challenge the following to do the same and post a picture stating 'Am I Next???' We are not asking for money... we are asking for support."
Our government seems to turn a blind eye to issues affecting Aboriginals. But stop for a second and imagine that one of these women was your wife, mother, sister, friend, teacher, aunt... That's why #AmINext matters to all of us—at least it should.
And that's where Twitter comes in. In the past, where individuals may have penned letters and lobbied governments behind closed doors, such protests are now done in full view on social media, reaching many more eyeballs. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, though it may have been annoying to wade through so many, brought awareness—not to mention a crazy amount of funding—to what was once a little-known disease.
Let's hope #AmINext will spur elected officials into taking action, if only to save face. And even though some people will jump on the bandwagon for the sake of it, and others will groan over the tweets clogging their timeline, curiosity will get the better of many others who wouldn't normally pick up a newspaper.
These people may wonder what the hashtag means. Maybe they'll click through and read an article or two about stricken communities that wouldn't otherwise be on their radar. And that's got to be a good thing, right?
What do you think of social media campaigns like #AmINext and #YesAllWomen?