Pandemic Protests

The movements that changed our generation throughout the pandemic


Illustrations by Sua Yoh

Vaishnavi Ayyagari

A life-changing experience for the country both socially and politically — during the pandemic, many in the United States joined protests in response to the death of George Floyd, became involved in the formation of the Stop AAPI Hate movement meant to curb discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and spoke out on various social and political issues on social media across the world.  

These were just a few of the movements that took place since the beginning of the pandemic. While many saw the pandemic as an apocalypse, some believe it provided a well-needed look in the mirror. 


The death of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020 ignited protests from activists who decried the systematic injustice Black Americans have faced in this country. The American people took to the streets to power the Black Lives Matter movement, which works to protest anti-Black racism. 

“BLM represents an opportunity to begin the conversation of equity and basically to let people know that like African-Americans and Black people, we’re here and we’re not going to continue to allow society to ignore us and let the racial inequity just go on,” Senior Vee Mudadi said. 

As the vice president of the Black Student Union, Vee Mudadi believes that the main cause behind BLM was the systematically charged racism, which she said is built into the foundations of the American nation.

“The system has made a significant impact on the lives of our students,” Mudadi said. “[BLM] has opened a door and put the time for Black cultural erosion behind us. It forces everyone in our area to acknowledge the importance of Black culture and Black history.” 

But, as the Black community fought their fight for equality, experts suggested the ongoing spread of Coronavirus fueled a different wave of racial attacks towards the Asian-Americans. 

Since the very beginning of the pandemic, some of Asian-American community has been facing hate from snide comments to the violent assault against innocent members of the community. 

In response to violence, a movement called Stop Hate Against Asian American Pacific Islanders or AAPI was created. 

The peak of the movement occurred after the Atlanta spa shootings on March 16, 2021. Six of the eight victims murdered were Asian-American women. Although the police have stated the shooter was sexually motivated, according to the New York Times multiple experts have said race cannot be ruled out as a motive.


The pandemic influenced some people to push for social change, but the main calls to action took place online because of the effect the pandemic had on social interaction. Social movements online aren’t new, but research from The Conversation showed that the sudden growth in the amount of activism taking place on social media was much higher through quarantine. 

With the help of social media like Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, youth fueled the fire of the movement. Through BLM-oriented media such as the viral anthem “I need you too” by Tobe Nwigwe, social media companies were forced to reflect on racial biases within their platform. 

Media users demanded that platforms promoted POC creators at the same level as they do for their white creators. TikTok responded with an apology through a statement. 

“We also fully acknowledge our responsibility to not simply wish for and talk about the importance of diversity on our platform but to actively promote and protect it,” TikTok stated. 


However, following the statement, many people still haven’t seen change. This calls into question the credibility of how much change can actually happen through social media.

Is posting a picture on your story enough to make a change? Or is it falling into the category of slacktivism?

“If you just share every post you come across that relates to what you’re fighting for, then it’s not worth it,” senior Emily Verhagen, an executive member of Students for Equity through Education said. “There can be a lot of inaccurate stuff that goes around especially with today and how quickly information spreads.”

A graphic can act as clickbait and lure people into spreading false information, which Verhagen believes is ultimately harmful to the cause they are fighting for.

Although, Mudadi believes there are positive aspects to fighting for a cause through social media as long as people can see the difference between slacktivism and true activism.

“As opposed to just doing things for show, actually invest your time into informing yourself and those around you about the things that you’re spreading,” Mudadi said.