The Un-Mannequin Challenge
Trill or Not Trill?
The Mannequin Challenge has been trending for sometime. If you’ve been under a rock, it’s where people stand as statues in their “natural” spaces as the camera pans the room while Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” plays in the background. “Black Beatles” by the way is one of my favorite songs right now performed by the incredibly underrated Hip-Hop brother duo Rae Sremmurd. Fun Fact: One half of Rae Sremmurd helped co-write Beyonce’s “Formation.” Anyhow, the origin of this video is given credit to students at Jacksonville High School who started it out as a joke. Soon, we saw organizations like the New York Giants and Paul McCartney from the original Beatles join in.
This got me thinking about the relevance that the Mannequin Challenge has in our society today and certainly on college campuses when it comes to human rights. With social media becoming a centralized news outlet this generation has been criticized for not doing enough politically. Posting a Facebook status or retweeting about a social issue should not replace actually doing the work. It’s basically like standing like a mannequin in society. I will provide some resources that can help you do more than just use social media to show your support. So as the trends dies down, how about we start the #UnMannequinChallenge
1. Call your representatives
Believe it or not our government and local representatives are available to e-mail or call and the best part is that the phone numbers are online. These e-mails and calls HAVE to at least read or be heard and at most be answered. I recently shared an article on my Facebook about a woman who worked for a government representative. She suggests that calling is the most effective way to get your point across. Here is the link to find your representative which lead you to their government websites. http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. I recently called Speaker Paul Ryan to express my dissatisfaction with Donald Trump’s pick for chief of staff. Posting my feelings about him on Facebook would not have made a difference. Calling or e-mailing does. Be sure to be courteous and professional and remember that the people taking the message are not responsible for government policies.
2. Volunteer your time
There are many opportunities for you to volunteer for organizations or for causes that stand for something. For example, so, you’re upset about how people have spoken about Planned Parenthood. You can volunteer or obtain an internship at Planned Parenthood which was been criticized by certain politicians. (https://plannedparenthoodrccorpvolunteer.peoplefluent.com/index.html ) This is a great way to help groups of people who need the services of this agency. They even had the opportunity to volunteer as a clinic escort that help women feel safe walking to and from the clinic. On their website you can also find local organizations that are organized to be activists. But this is not limited to just this organization. Discover what you are most passionate about and search the different ways you can be helpful in those spaces.
3. Donate (If You Can)
If you are able to, don’t just throw your money away at organizations that steal most of your money. I’m looking at you, Cancer Fund of America who only use 1% of their proceeds on direct cash aid. You can easily Google the organizations that actually donate their money back into a cause. Trust me, no matter what the cause you can find an organization that advocates for it. For example, there’s a great organization called Valley Youth House that recently created a campaign to help raise awareness for LGBTQ homeless youth. You can even donate gifts to their organization through their Amazon Wish List for homeless youth. https://www.valleyyouthhouse.org/events/holiday-gift-drive/ . The point is, if you’re going to donate your money makes sure it’s going to the right place.
4. Less Yelling
One of the things I’ve noticed in this past election is that we have learned that yelling, anger, and silencing is acceptable. It is not. You are in the best place in the world (college) to learn about the about a variety of issues that concerns you. This includes your textbook, the library, professors and Student Affairs professionals. I understand that sometimes other people’s opinion makes it is easy to grow angry, however yelling will only make them just as upset. Try to engage in a health conversation where you are hearing what they are saying and respectfully challenging. Remember that they believe their views are right as much as you do. Also, making assumptions about someone’s character based on their political affiliation is discriminatory and wrong. I know this may not be a popular opinion amongst many but I truly believe that healing through listening and educating is the best way to help unite our country.
These are very simple steps that can help YOU make difference right away. I challenge you to do more than what you are currently doing. It’s the little things that when combined makes a BIG splash. Be more than just an Instagram hashtag or a Snapchat filter or worse a mannequin in society.
Antonio Talamo is a young higher education professional that has experience working in Student Activities and Advisement. He has brought his talents to Montclair State University where he will be the Coordinator for Commuter Students and Programs . He has grown from a go-to-class-go-home student to a professional who is passionate about giving students the best college experience at any level. He is a huge sports fan that loves the New York Giants and the Boston Red Sox and swears he is the reason the Red Sox broke the Bambino curse.