Today’s media makes it virtually impossible to remain connected and informed about things continually happening in the world once they are no longer “trending,” or no longer the Top Story. This leads to many important and immediate issues and good causes being forgotten or loss in the abyss of top news stories and whatever is trending. The Flint Michigan Water Crises has been going on for years, but it wasn’t until recently that many people were paying attention. Now, since the topic is trending and at the top of many of our newsfeeds we are concerned.
But what about the years before now where residents in Flint were drinking poisoned water, what happens after the cameras, documentaries, articles, and news coverage stops. We must continually support and remember issues that exist and continue to exist in our world even when they are not trending, even when the hashtag is forgotten, even when celebrities are not talking about them. Here is a list of some things we’ve forgotten, that we must remember and continue to act on:
- #BringBackOurGirls: the (over) 200 Nigerian girls who were stolen by Boko Haram in 2014, abducted from school and forced to marry. Many people tried to encourage awareness and action around this horrific incident, but now we barely hear about it. Have we found those girls yet, what about their families and their educations?
- The Ebola Outbreak: Many West African countries suffered from the ebola epidemic in 2014 and are still recovering from the resurgence of the disease. The poor and developing countries often struggle to fight against diseases that the Western World only has a distant memory of. They lack the proper resources and infrastructure to deal with them. Now with the Zika virus, we are seeing a similar thing.
- Syrian refugee crises: Although this has not fully left our consciousness, especially if you live in Europe, it is one of those things that was very front and center for a long time and now is not. We no longer see photos of Syrian children and families, as well as families from other Middle Eastern and African countries, arriving on the shores of Europe even though this is still happening. Western countries are still trying to find solutions to this new wave of refugees, and many organizations are still helping with resources and support on the ground.
- Racism in European football (soccer): Even if you are not a football fan you may have heard of bananas being thrown at black players in Italy or Zidane head-butting an opponent for a racist remark during a game in 2006. Racism in football is pervasive in European leagues and is even now affecting youth soccer leagues where young play players are called racial slurs by parents watching the game. Football is the most popular sport in the world; if racism is acceptable in this global sport than we are allowing the pervasiveness of a deep-seated global racism, which permeates into all aspects of society.
- Mo’ne Davis being called a slut: When Little League Champion Mo’ne was called a slut by a college baseball player who was jealous of her. At age 13 Mo’ne Davis was garnering a lot of attention for being an exceptional Little League baseball pitcher, having been the first girl to earn a win by pitching a shutout in Little League World Series history. Upon hearing Disney wanted to make a movie about this amazing girl, a baseball player at Bloomsburg University called her a slut in one of his tweets. Besides the fact that she was 13, this type of language used towards women, accomplished or otherwise, is not uncommon and exposes how sexist our world truly is. We must never stop fight sexism and ignorance.
- Trans People’s Rights (before Caitlyn Jenner): There are many activists, organizations, people (celebrities and otherwise) who have been fighting for the rights and awareness of LGBTQ for decades. With the fame of Caitlyn Jenner these issues have–again–been brought to the forefront of human rights. However, we must not forget that people have been in this struggle long before her and will continue to be after her fame and reality tv show are no longer front and center.
- Human and Sex Trafficking (of children, women, and labour globally): Sex trafficking within countries and transnationally of women and children has been and continues to be a pressing and significant human rights issue. Willow Smith and her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, have been advocates against the issue. There is also a huge problem with labor and human trafficking in countries like Saudia Arabia. The issue of human trafficking sometimes gets a headline in the news, but it is an ongoing issue that only has bursts of visibility in the media.
- Defunding Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood is a huge resource to many women and families in America. Whether or not you are for or against defunding the organization, it’s an important issue that brings up discussions about access to healthcare in the U.S. particularly for low-income women and families.
- Sexual Assault Against Women (on college campuses and globally): Rape, sexual assault, and violence against women is a global phenomenon. It happens on college campuses and in the streets of cities. Even countries like Belgium, have some of the highest rates of rapes. It is not only a weapon of war, it has become much too common in Western countries. And not addressed properly by state governments, college administrations, or our society. Let’s not forget when an Uber driver raped a woman he was driving home in India. This issue can not leave the forefront of our minds or we will always be fearing for our daughters’ safety.
- #BlackLivesMatter Movement: Although the Black Lives Matter Movement is on the top of many of our minds we can’t forget that black lives have always mattered and now that there is a platform for this understanding does not make it any more or less relevant than it is and has always been. Right now it is trendy for celebrities, influencers, students, and news stations to tac on to this movement. While this is good in many ways, it is also a result of the media making use of what is currently popular. We have to keep this movement strong and alive for more than a few years, one month, thousands of deaths, because it will always be relevant and it should stay central until we no longer need to remind the world that Black Lives Matter.