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Philadelphia Freddie Gray Protest

Source: Mark Makela / Getty

If you cut on the news today you might be a bit confused. Is this 1956 or 2016? Seems like the civil and human rights issues that our ancestors were fighting have resurfaced. While the racism isn’t as overt as whites only and blacks only sections on buses and in restaurants, the levels of police brutality and inequality still exist. The rise of shooting deaths of black men, women and children sparked a new movement for social justice. This new movement is similar in some ways of the movement from the past, but very different in other ways.

Old civil rights leaders used a very coordinated approach to seeking justice. The old movement selected leaders to represent the race. These leaders set the tone and direction of the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s, using protest marches and large staged events to capture the attention of the nation and those in power. They created large organizations that assembled membership-based grassroots coalitions who did the work in communities. They operated off a collective agenda and everyone pushed that agenda. Today’s social justice fighters, while employing some of these methods, are doing things differently.

The movement is less coordinated and there isn’t a clear leader representing the voice of the entire community. The leaders of the new school civil rights movement are effectively using social media to make their voices heard, and they’ve made advocacy a part of the lifestyle by incorporating music, fashion and philanthropy with grassroots advocacy and education. Their goal is to show that everyone has power and a place in the movement – and that being socially conscious is cool.

So, who are these leaders of the new school? There are many (hence the deconstructed movement), but here are a few that while less well known, are having their say in the new movement.

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