Ashley Evans | Contributing Writer
Rosa Parks. Nelson Mandela. Mahatma Gandhi.
These are well-known freedom fighters and activists who have made monumental impacts in the world. However, there is also greatness found in the influential names of today’s society such as Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza, Emma Watson and Christine Caine. These modern-day women have noticed the needs of society, organized campaigns, started nonprofits and above all, have fought for the freedoms of others.
Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza
In 2012 after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, three women hashtagged “Black Lives Matter,” sparking a nationwide movement. #BlackLivesMatter was initiated by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza, who have dedicated themselves to fighting for the freedom of black people.
According to blacklivesmatter.com’s mission statement, “#BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. We affirm our contributions to this society, our humanity and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”
They explain their intentions to not only have the hashtag present on social media platforms but to also bring its message out into the streets in hope of liberation for all black lives.
In 2014, Emma Watson gave a speech at the United Nations headquarters that would alter the modern-day outlook on gender equality. HeForShe was born from this speech, and through it nearly 500,000 men have pledged to stand against gender-based violence and discrimination.
#HeforShe is a movement that provides both men and women the freedom to be themselves and helps break the everyday occurrence of gender stereotypes.
In Watson’s UN speech, she said, “I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.”
#EndSlavery is a hashtag that seeks to raise awareness for modern-day slavery. Christine Caine is founder of the A21 organization, a nonprofit that deals directly with the fight against human trafficking.
“I really believe there is a life beyond everyone’s past, and there is a hope and a future. And if you commit to the process of restoration, you can overcome the obstacles and hurdles and the pain and the suffering and be made whole,” Caine said in an interview on End Slavery Now’s website.
According to the A21 website, the average age of trafficking victims is 12 years old, with 27 million in bondage today. However, the hashtag “end slavery” works towards making that one step for greater awareness to those affected by human trafficking.