Power to the (Digital) People

By Michelle Chen Apr 20, 2010

Digital media is changing the size, scope and speed of activism. But when working with relatively disadvantaged or alienated populations, getting the message across lines of race, language and socioeconomic status are often at least as difficult online as it is on the ground. But communities are absorbing new technologies at a surprising fast pace. Two examples we’ve covered in recent months: a mobile app that help migrants navigate the border patrol gauntlet; and the NAACP’s SMS-based police misconduct tracking program, which aims to foster research as well as rapid-response advocacy campaigns. Some new initiatives have cropped up lately that could serve as models, or evolving examples, of digitizing the grassroots. Growing Greener Schools (GGS), produced by the Media Policy Center, fused a documentary project with a national campaign to make schools more environmentally sound. From creating more energy-efficient campuses to organic gardening programs, the MPC has designed multimedia projects aimed at fostering green projects at schools.