“You have to throw some bait out there … and loop people in,” said Iron Eyes, who is facing prison time for protesting at the construction site of the controversial pipeline in the Dakotas.
Panelist Julieta Garibay, too, had to stare down possible criminal prosecution to stand for her beliefs. A co-founder and campaigns director for United We Dream, Garibay was undocumented when she first began using social media as a platform to call for immigration reform. Though United We Dream is well-known for its viral #Undocumented&Unafraid campaign, Garibay said she lived in constant fear about her status.
“It was through the (United We Dream) movement that I was actually able to be empowered and lose that fear and that shame of being undocumented,” she said.
United We Dream's Julieta Garibay.
Hundreds of thousands of others have been similarly empowered by United We Dream, which has given them a reason and a platform to speak out and be heard.
“We have been able to uplift our stories. As we tell our stories, we engage our people and get them to fight for their lives,” Garibay said.
If it were not for social media, panelist Sam Sinyangwe would not be at Campaign Zero working to document police abuses across the nation. He co-founded the organization with DeRay McKesson after starting a casual Twitter conversation with McKesson about the need for policy solutions to address police brutality. Soon afterward, the pair launched Campaign Zero, an extension of the Black Lives Matter movement that works on evidence-based policy solutions to end police violence.
In Sinyangwe’s opinion, when it comes to organizing and galvanizing, not all social media platforms are created equal. He likes the limitless reach of Twitter, as opposed to the network of “friends” on Facebook.