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Researched Argument Brainstorm

For this researched argument paper, I think it would be cool to take a different approach to college advocacy than I did in the Mapping the Movement and Advocating Change assignments. Instead of focusing on one particular topic of interest, I would like to research the idea of college advocacy as a whole, while using multiple examples of college advocacy to support my argument.

Question 1: Why is college activism so effective in producing change?

Explanation and Motivation: This entire course is based on college activism and why it’s important. Earlier this semester, we briefly discussed why college activism works. We mentioned that there are a lot of young people living in close proximity, students are beginning to find their identities and explore what they really believe, and it’s easy to gather momentum for change among young people through social media, word of mouth, etc. I’m interested in this topic because as a college student, I’m curious as to what makes college activism so unique and effective.

Information and Arguments: I hope to find more information that sheds some light on other social/psychological reasons why college activism works so well. I want to know if our particular stage in life makes us better or more passionate activists. Based on the information I find, I would argue that college activism is unique, meaningful, and powerful because of x, y, and z reasons.

Question 2: What are the most successful tactics in college activism?

Explanation and Motivation: As a college student who is passionate about various issues, I would like to know what activism tactics are more successful than others. These can be implemented in order to make my personal activism on campus more effective. What appeals to college students and how do you get them invested in a cause?

Information and Arguments: I would like to know more about the different tactics that are used in college activism, and how they’ve achieved varying levels of success. I would argue that a certain tactic is more successful than others when it comes to college activism and getting students involved and to care.

Question 3: How is student activism in America today the same and different from a couple of decades ago?

Explanation and Motivation: This topic would explore how student/college activism has changed and evolved over the years. Is it any different now than it was 30 years ago? If so, how? I’m interested in this topic because as a new college student, I wonder to what extent our world today shapes the way we look at issues and how we react.

Information and Arguments: I would have to research what student activism looked like in the past, as well as what it looks like now. Based on what I find, I think that I would argue that the world’s current state has a large effect on student activism and they way college students perceive issues.

 

Newark’s Hidden Homeless: Team Amigas

Homelessness is a condition that affects nearly 600,000 individuals in America today. You are probably aware that homelessness is a very serious issue in our nation. But did you also know how prevalent homelessness is in our city of Newark, Delaware? Imagine the men, women and children sitting and standing on the sidewalks of Main St. looking for some spare change to help them get by. Is this a familiar image? It is for me. Almost every time I walk on Main St. I see an individual experiencing homelessness and seeking help. In Newark, there are an estimated 50 homeless individuals, and the number is thought to be on the rise.

So why should we care? Homelessness deprives individuals of the basic right to have security and a permanent roof over their heads. It takes the control that individuals have over their surroundings away from them — whether that means living in the street, in transitional housing, shelters, etc. Once individuals are homeless, it’s very difficult to get out of the situation without a proper support network. A common misconception about homeless people is that they are lazy, addicts, substance abusers, etc. However, the real truth behind people experiencing homelessness is that they are normal people who experienced a major setback in their lives, but didn’t have the proper support system to protect them from losing everything — including their homes.

Newark has a couple of institutions that aid the homeless, but I would like to see greater awareness and compassion for the homeless of Newark, specifically on Main St. Currently, the Newark Empowerment Center (Newark) and the Friendship House (Wilmington) provide aid to the homeless individuals in Newark and the greater area. However, these places do not yet provide overnight housing or food distribution. But they do provide access to clothing, restrooms, phones and mail. It also provides a job readiness program where individuals can work on resumes and job applications.

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This is Harry Warner. He has been homeless for 15 years. You may recognize the Mizu Sushi Bar behind him on Main Street. This is an example of an individual affected by homelessness, and unable to escape the condition for 15 years. There are many others like him in Newark, and I believe we should be caring for them. I want to bring Newark’s hidden homeless population into the light for everyone to see and take action.

 

A Mass Movement Before the Rise of Social Media

Since my movement took place in the 1960s (Anti-Vietnam War), the online platform was not a part of this movement. The internet was being invented around the same time that this movement was gaining support and strength, so the supporters of the movement had to find another way to spread their message. As I was doing research, I discovered that a big way that this anti-war movement spread and caught attention was through music. Since online platforms like Twitter, Facebook, news sites, etc. didn’t exist to spread a mass message quickly and to a lot of people, many popular artists spread the word through their songs. Some examples of these artists are Jimi Hendrix, Country Joe and the Fish, Bob Dylan, and John Lennon. Many of these artists were prominent figures and constantly had attention from the press as well, which also helped to spread their message.

This particular movement has ended, but there have been many other peace protests and anti-war protests since then, such as the anti-Iraq War demonstrations. Since this movement has ended, I think the purpose of my website will be more to provide information about this historical movement more than trying to get people to join a particular movement/belief. In order to portray a comprehensive view of this movement, I want to incorporate a lot of media into my website. I’m planning to embed multiple videos of popular anti-war songs so the audience can see how music was used heavily as a political tool at the time. It’s quite different to the way music is now. I’m also going to map out this movement in a timeline with pictures so the audience can easily visualize the process of the anti-Vietnam War movement. My website will also include multiple pages focusing on different parts of the movement (Purpose, About, Cause, etc.) so that the information is well-organized and easy to browse through. WordPress also has a helpful tool called Text Widget which allows you to add text or HTML to the sidebar of your site. I was thinking I could use this tool to add links to related resources or links to my other pages.

Although the online platforms were not used at the time of this movement, I can use the accessibility and interactivity of online platforms in order to inform my audience of this particular movement in history.

What Advocacy Means to Me

Advocacy is a word that many of us are familiar with, but it carries a different weight and meaning for each individual. To me, advocacy is simply seeing something you want changed in the world and then acting upon that desire. Acting upon that desire for change can look like as large-scale as a protest, or as small-scale as a conversation with a friend. Advocacy can be big or small, but if you are proactively seeking to change something, promote something, present something even – you are an advocate. When I think of advocacy, I also this of this quote by Margaret Mead:

I heard this quote from a teacher in high school, but it captures the essence of advocacy for me. Advocacy doesn’t start with world leaders, politicians, or celebrities – although it can. More often than not, advocacy and change begins with a couple of individuals who want to see a change in the world and do something about it. This is extremely relevant to our topic of advocating change on a college campus, because even a small group of caring students can create waves of change on their campus and beyond.

When I think of movements that work to create change, I think of people who are united under a common goal or purpose. I also think of courage, passion, and perseverance.

Movements that come to mind:

  • Anti-Vietnam war movement
  • Civil Rights movement
  • Anti-Immigration ban movement
  • Gender equality movement
  • LGBTQ Rights movement

Brainstorming movements that interest me:

  • Anti-Vietnam war movement 
    • began mostly on college campuses
    • this movement intersects with my sense of identity as an Asian American
    • benefits: understanding more of our history, learning more about a prominent movement that began on college campuses
    • challenges: sorting out all of the information on this topic since it’s such a large issue; looking at multiple perspectives on this movement

  • Anti-Immigration ban movement
    • this movement is close to me because my parents were immigrants
    • this movement is interesting to me because it’s still developing and happening currently
    • benefits: explore the Trump administration and policies and how they affect our country and the world
    • challenges: because the movement is so current, it might be difficult to find an extensive amount of information on it