I have been trying to get off of Facebook for a while now. There are a ton of compelling reasons to get off of Facebook: weak security controls, election interference, Facebook’s insidious interference in the policing of East Menlo Park and East Palo Alto – something I just recently learned about and am trying to educate myself about (read this thorough investigation from Vice to learn more). The two things that keep me there are ironically necessary to working against the injustices that are being perpetuated: staying connected to my former students and finding articles and voices that people I respect, doing the work of social change are reading, sharing and writing. If people have alternatives that have worked for them, please share!
I am pretty aware of social media tools and trends – when students pick them up, it affects the way they view communication and in turn has a direct impact on how I teach. So, I know that I probably should be monitoring feeds on Twitter. I am so overwhelmed by Twitter. It makes my head spin. About 5 years ago, I decided to try to jump into Twitter and found a very rich and vibrant conversation of teachers talking about very detailed strategies and techniques. It was amazing but also sent my hummingbird brain into a million spirals. I still dip into that pool when I need inspiration or want up to the minute details about current events, but I think it is a space meant for people whose brains are wired differently than mine.
So, that leaves me with Instagram because Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube are definitely for the young people, as my resident young people remind me all the time. Instagram is where I hear about breaking stories before they show up in my news reading – my former students post things that matter to them and is far more effective than mainstream media at getting the word out. It does require I use multiple sources (or as I try to teach my students, horizontal rather than vertical reading). I had read an article many years ago (that I can’t currently find! Sorry! I really like to cite sources!!!) where a white male journalist wrote about only adding women to his Twitter feed for an entire year. He talked about the topics that he read about and opinions that he encountered and how it impacted his way of thinking. The first thing that I did as the Black Lives Matter protests took hold was to add new voices to my Instagram feed to find out what people were thinking.
Here are three of my current thought-provoking favorites that I think others might like:
- Rachel Cargle (rachel.cargle) – I have already gained so much perspective from Rachel Cargle’s posts that deconstruct language and reflect on her experiences as a Black woman leading the conversation in anti-racism. Her focus on the mental health of communities of color, particularly Black women and girls, through the Loveland Foundation is a space where I want to dedicate thought, time and resources.
- Leah Vernon (lvernon2000): A few years ago I started following Leah Vernon along with other body positive people (including Megan Jayne Crabbe – bodyposipanda who is awesome!) while working with a student who was in recovery from an Eating Disorder. Leah is very open about her ups and downs in life, and she challenges stereotypes of body image and what it is to be a Muslim woman. She gives me much to think about and I encourage others to check her out.
- Teach me Public Health (teachmepublichealth): This is the most recent addition on my list, and I am loving it. I don’t know a ton of background on the person posting, but it is really great information that is well-sourced about the impact of many current issues on public health. It was shared by one of my former students who has always been very active in social justice issues. The account shares information on wide-range of topics in a condensed fashion that lead you to learn and want to learn more.
Here is a list of some of the other voices I have added to my feed in the past month (and some who I followed elsewhere but forgot to add to my instagram, Roxane Gay? How did I not have her on Instagram before now???). I already follow many other voices like Angie Thomas, Jason Reynolds, Kwame Alexander, Jacqueline Woodson who write for young people – I will write more about them later!
- Roxane Gay: roxanegay74
- Layla Saad: laylafsaad
- Ibram X. Kendi: ibramxk
- Reni Eddo-Lodge: renieddolodge
- Rachel Ricketts: iamrachelricketts
- Brittney Cooper: professor_crunk
- Keisha Bottoms: keishabottoms
- deray mckesson iamderay
- 🔻I Am Ron Bass: iam_ronbass🔻
- Nathalie Pierre: talesfromabookworm
- Nai’a Perkins: nayareadsandsmiles
- Black Emily Dickinson: blkemilydickinson
- The Great Unlearn: thegreatunlearn
- Check Your Privilege: ckyourprivilege
- Black Futures Lab: blackfutureslab
- For Freedoms: forfreedoms
- The Nap Ministry: thenapministry
- Be the Bridge: beabridgebuilder
- The Woke Coach™: thewokecoach
- Darius Riley: hourvoyses
- Ava DuVernay: ava
- Robert Peterson: caleblee81
- John R Walder: ucwhateyec
- zephyr ann: nights.and.days
Fitness/Wellness Coaches (because I have a lot to learn about fitness and should learn from as many sources as possible…)
- Chrissy King: iamchrissyking
- QiQi H.: theqii_tofitness
- Libby Christensen: libbychristensen
- Charlotte: cleanfoodiecravings
Perspective-taking works to build community, and it is vital to our Democracy. If you think of other voices that need to reach broader audiences, please share!