2014 was a serious year for speaking out and giving back.
And thanks to social media, young professionals (YPs) nationwide have made social activism and charitable giving trendier than ever.
A worldwide viral phenomenon, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised millions of dollars for ALS research, and spread important awareness about Lou Gehrig’s disease and the plight of those who suffer from it. The Ice Bucket Challenge also offered up an amazing lesson in viral philanthropic marketing. To relive a few of the most notable celeb Ice Bucket videos, see here.
#HeForShe, #YesAllWomen, #WhyIStayed
Feminism is back, but it’s not the hairy-legged, bra-burning, man-hating movement it once was. As a reaction to the growing problems of gender pay gaps and rape culture, celebrities, politicians, journalists, and other public figures have transformed feminism into a more modern and all-inclusive plea for gender equality. Emma Watson’s powerful #HeForShe campaign and the revealing #YesAllWomen and #WhyIStayed Twitter movements were particularly prolific.
2014 was the year of the rescue dog. Whether you adopted a new furry friend from a shelter, helped foster one in need, or donated to a local rescue group, YPs were all about saving animals this year. Buying designer dogs from pet stores is so early 2000s. This year it was all about #adoptdontshop.
#NoGMOs, #RealFood, #Organic, #EatLocal
YPs went crazy for healthy food this year, which also included speaking out about those that aren’t: processed, GMO-filled, and inhumane foods. From social media to local protests, from shopping aisles to local farms and gardens, YPs made it known in 2014 that we demand real, local, organic food.
Canadian Special Olympics charity (and super popular YP event) motionball launched the YELLOWCARD campaign in 2014 as part of the broader anti-bullying movement. The campaign helps raise awareness about the dangers of using the “r-word” and works toward eliminating it in popular culture. YPs Canada-wide have taken the pledge to become YELLOWCARD ambassadors in support of individuals with intellectual disabilities because there is #nogoodway to use the “r-word.” (For more from motionball founder Paul Etherington on how to mobilize your own network to get involved in charity, see here.)
Malala Yousafzai’s fight for every child’s right to education, particularly girls, has grown into an even broader movement this year. #TheLast movement hopes that we may soon see the last child ever denied education, ever forced to work in a factory, ever forced into early marriage, and ever to lose their life to war. Even after being the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize, receiving an honorary doctorate from Halifax’s University of King’s College, and being named one of Time magazine’s “25 most influential teens of 2014,” Malala just refuses to quit.