Ever since Montgomery County Public Schools shut all its doors on March 13 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, students were forced to move almost everything online — including their voices. When the Black Lives Matter movement took the United States by storm in early May 2020, students began to use any platform possible to make themselves heard. Social media apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and TikTok have been newly utilized during quarantine as a way to spread awareness and political standings.
With the start of the new virtual school year, MCPS students are now able to express their ideas with their classmates in a new environment. Without being able to sit in a classroom and converse, students can spread information and news from the safety of their own rooms.
Junior Olivia Pirnat is one of many who vouch for online activism. “I think that expressing activism is effective online (particularly at the moment) because it is a safe way to bring attention to problems to get more people involved,” she said.
The age of social media has forever changed the face of student advocacy and politics, allowing anybody to safely get involved with just the touch of a screen.
The internet is a resource widely used by the younger generation, which includes the majority of the MCPS student population. Olivia Abdallah, a junior at Northwest High School, believes that “young adults make up a lot of the population, but aren’t able to get our voices and issues heard due to how young we are.”
However, following the switch to in-person to online, youth thoughts and opinions are being broadcasted on a much larger scale. “We are the future,” Abdallah adds. “We need to be educated on current issues as they affect us right now and will continue to affect us.”
QO junior Emma Lee Freeman is an environmental advocate who has been active online before and during the COVID-19 outbreak, and she is passionate about the conservation of the environment. “People forget that we only have one planet and its condition gets worse and worse every day,” says Freeman.
Freeman describes her transition from in-person to online activism as “smooth,” due to her already being active on many online platforms. “Although I do understand how it may be difficult for other students,” she says. “However, I strongly urge all my classmates to get involved in any way possible, as they have the power to make a change.”
Provided by the Quince Orchard High School Prowler