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How Technology Shapes Social Movements

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How Technology Shapes Social Movements

Image caption: The Future of Change: How Technology Shapes Social Revolutions by Ray Brescia 240 pages, Cornell University Press, 2020.

In an excerpt from The Future of Change, Ray Brescia analyzes how VAWA proponents used digital platforms to broaden their message and support.

In September 1994, after years of grassroots advocacy, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and President Clinton signed it into law. VAWA provides federal funding for enhanced law enforcement, social services, and legal services for victims of domestic violence. By its express terms, Congress must reauthorize VAWA every five years. And for the first few reauthorization cycles, bipartisan support to renew the law was common, and Congress even added enhancements to the law over time to expand its coverage. In 2011, the law was up for renewal in a hyper-partisan atmosphere, with a strongly divided Congress and an upcoming election year where President Obama faced a tough reelection fight. At the same time, a diverse group of advocates led by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women mustered to not just renew the law, but strengthen it in important ways, including ensuring that it offered support to members of the LGBTQ community, expanded protection for Native American women, and increased resources for undocumented victims of domestic violence.  […]

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