10 Hashtags That Got 2015’s Life

By Sameer Rao Dec 21, 2015

More than any other, 2015 has been the year of the racial justice hashtag. Some of these digital rallying cries came and went with the moment of highest relevance, while others stuck around and became living testaments to our collective action, resistance and humor. We compiled a crop of hashtags that captivated our feeds and imaginations this year. Here, in no particular order, are 10 of our favorites:


In early August, Ozzy’s and Sharon’s daughter tried to be an ally to Latino immigrants when she countered Donald Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric by asking who would clean his toilets if he deported then all from the United States. So Aura Bogado, then Colorlines’ news editor, launched #QueridaKellyOsbourne, a hashtag used primarily by Latinos tweeting candid stories about their families and criticisms of Osbourne:


The news of Bobby Jindal’s now-defunct campaign for the Republican presidential nomination angered many South Asian Americans who saw him disavow his Indian heritage when it was convenient and call hyphenated-American identity baseless. The acclaimed Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu started #BobbyJindalIsSoWhite to express that rage, and it thrived throughout Jindal’s mid-November departure from the race:


Two strings of arson attacks on predominantly Black churches—first in the South after a White terrorist massacred Black churchgoers in Charleston, then in metro St. Louis near Ferguson—compelled social media users to share information and protest mainstream media’s lack of coverage with #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches


When right-wing propaganda threatened the livelihood of Planned Parenthood this year, Twitter users opened up about their abortions with #ShoutYourAbortion. The hashtag and complimentary movement was started by activists Amelia Bonow and Kimberly Morrison and writer Lindy West to fight the abortion stigma and protest a culture that would cut acess to reproductive health care (especially for people of color): 


One of Black Twitter’s most hilarious creations, #CookoutNetworkNews reported the common goings-on of parties, barbecues and family reunions with precision:


Unfortunately, Abigail Fisher managed to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that the University of Texas might have rejected her because she’s White (and not because her grades weren’t good enough). #StayMadAbby hit back at Fisher and Justice Antonin Scalia, who said that Black students would fit better at "less advanced schools"


Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s brilliant strategy to court Latino voters was to say that he’s referring to Asians when he talks about “anchor babies.” Jason Fong, a teen intern for AsAmNews, used #MyAsianAmericanStory to fight this modern-day Yellow Peril fear-mongering and celebrate the complexity of Asian America: 


Social media lost it when Rachel Dolezal, then the president of the Spokane, Washington, branch of the NAACP, was outed as White by her parents. People of all stripes used #AskRachel to express their collective disbelief and general WTF-ness:


From Marilyn Manson allegedly portraying a Native American hitman to ongoing controversy surrounding the Washington NFL Team‘s racist name (and all appropriation of Native imagery in between), #RedfaceDisgrace clapped back at the historic and ongoing erasure and systemic marginalization of Native peoples and cultures across the country: 


No social media movement added more depth to #BlackLivesMatter than #SayHerName. The African American Policy Forum created the hashtag in support of its ongoing demand that Black women victims be included in the conversation about state violence against Black bodies. #SayHerName grew to encompass public outrage over Sandra Bland’s suspicious death in police custody and the multiple murders of trans women of color. The hashtag was in heavy rotation on May 21, a national day of action to highlight police brutality against Black women.

@sandylocks on why #SayHerName is critical to our racial justice movement. Read more here https://t.co/f91V5HEgFL pic.twitter.com/G6VC8LKyUn


So that was 2015. What were your favorite hashtags and tweets of the year? Let us know in the comments!