The new evangelists
In today’s world, everyday life seems to be dictated by economic, political, climate-related and social crises. We’re seeing a new generation of “fighters” rise up to demand justice. Driven by their personal life doctrine and by concern for humanity, these philanthropists are speaking up, raising their fists and taking action.
The ranks of the new evangelists include entrepreneurs, businesspeople and influencers of all kinds, bent on awakening people’s consciences. Their combat is reflected in documentaries and indie films like the last Ken Loach, “I, Daniel Blake,” which sheds light on controversial social issues through the prism of the British health system and the experience of those dealing with social services. Having won a top box-office spot, Ken Loach proves that the film industry can open up new perspectives and take action to bring about change.
Take action! At the 58th Grammy Awards ceremony, U.S. rapper Kendrick Lamar did just that, performing in handcuffs in protest against the recent violence against Afro-Americans in the United States. Other black artists have addressed the same subject, e.g. Beyoncé’s salute to the Black Panthers at the Super Bowl or Rihanna’s acceptance speech at the Black Girls Rock award ceremony. In France, Assa Traoré – whose brother Adama Traoré died after being taken into police custody near Paris in July 2016 – may not be a celeb, but her effort to combat injustice and institutional racism in the run-up to the French presidential elections is getting media attention.
In parallel, start-ups like Goodeed, Sleio and Charity Miles, like NGOs, let people fund charity projects and support good causes. These actions – whether carefully planned or completely spontaneous, independent or organized – show that empathy and altruism continue to be cherished.
Gen Z, seeking to create a better world
Not shy about expressing themselves, the members of Generation Z are ready to show what they can do and rise up in revolt. Born between about 1996 and 2010, they never knew an Internet-less world. They master the digital tools available to them and are familiar with the latter’s impacts. They were very young at the time of the 9/11 attacks and have grown up with repeated terrorist crises. Highly committed and socially responsible, Gen Z-ers fight for freedom, social equality, the environment and feminist causes. They’re people on a mission, ready to speak up, ditch personal prejudices and engage in activism. In their eyes, there’s not a moment to lose.
One example is the young actress Amandla Stenberg, named feminist of the year by the Ms. Foundation for Women at the tender age of 16. She’s spoken out on social issues (e.g. gender equality and the appropriation of black culture by the mass media) as has Rowan Blanchard, who’s been starring in Disney productions since the age of 9. As a celebrity, the latter uses her fame (and her 4 million followers) in support of women, queers and minorities general. Glacier Girl is another of what Forbes has called “rebels with a cause“. Ultra-connected and militant to the core, she’s rocking the social media to fight climate change.
Many of these heroes are anonymous and ordinary. They are proof that self-abnegation, courage and spontaneous acts still exist. For them, silence and passivity are not an option. Irrespective of their gender age or ethnicity, these new evangelists are making themselves heard and the world at large stands to benefit.