10 Powerful Hashtag Campaigns of 2014, Because It Was A Busy Year For Social Justice And Social Media

If there's one way to summarize a movement that happened in 2014, it's with a #hashtag. Social media has made a way for everyone, from President Obama to your next door neighbor, to say something on a global scale. There was no shortage of hashtag campaigns in 2014, and many of them inspired not only a change of perspective, but an awareness of solidarity in the face of oppression. Whether it was regarding a health, social, or political issue, hashtags were a way for people to join the conversation this year. Here are the 10 most notable hashtag campaigns of 2014 — and I bet you used at least one of them sometime in the last 12 months.

by Chelsey Grasso


If you didn’t see at least a dozen videos of people pouring ice water over their heads this year, then you must have been living under a rock. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took over the social media sites in the best way possible this year. Helping to bring awareness to ALS and raise funding for research on the disease, #IceBucketChallenge may have been fun, but it served an important cause in the process.

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Emma Watson is so lovable (I mean, she played Hermione Granger in Harry Potter after all), and her new #HeForShe campaign is just as wonderful as she is. Promoting “a solidarity movement for gender equality,” #HeForShe is a hashtag we can all stand behind, male or female.

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While this hashtag may have been created because of a horrific and tragic incident, it brought to the forefront an issue of women’s equality that never ceases to need discussion. #YesAllWomen tweets can be difficult to read at times, but sometimes it takes the dark to see the light worth fighting for.

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The Ferguson trial has been headlining the news for months, and the discussion has passionately continued in online forums and on social media. #BlackLivesMatter, as its website states, is “not a moment, a movement.” And rightly so. No matter what you think of the situation, the message behind this trending hashtag is as accurate as it is powerful.

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#ICantBreathe was the Internet’s response after a grand jury decided not to indict white police officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner, who died in a chokehold. The hashtag, based on Garner’s final words, became a cry for justice as thousands of people across the country marched in protest of police brutality.

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#IllRideWithYou came about after the siege at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Australia as an anti-Islamophobia movement. After the siege, with Muslims fearing racist retribution, the #IllRideWithYou campaign helped generate free rides for Muslims during a time when danger may have arisen on public transportation.

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Going bare is beautiful, especially when it comes to makeup. The #NoMakeup hashtag embraced the idea of natural beauty in a world that is consumed with being made-up. It also helped raise money for cancer research in the UK, totaling over one million dollars via text messages.

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Again, while this hashtag emerged out of a sad situation, it did exist as a sign of hope and solidarity for the women it spoke of. With everyone from Michelle Obama to Cara Delevingne sporting the hashtag on their Twitter accounts, #BringBackOurGirls helped spread the word about the group of young girls who were abducted from their Nigerian school.

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While India and Pakistan have a volatile relationship at times, all bad feelings were put aside in reverence of a heartbreaking school massacre in Pakistan. The #IndiaWithPakistan campaign helped to unify these two countries in a time of need, regardless of their social and political differences.

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The Twitter hashtag #WhyIStayed appeared as a show of support for Janay Rice — and all domestic abuse victims — after the disturbing Ray Rice assault video surfaced in the media. Started by survivor Beverly Gooden, the oftentimes heartbreaking hashtag gave a powerful voice to survivors of abuse everywhere from all backgrounds.

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