Early Tuesday morning, news broke that Juror B37 of the George Zimmerman case would no longer be writing a nonfiction story bringing clarity to the decision to acquit Zimmerman. But don't be too quick to commend Juror B37 for her sudden change of heart. It appears that Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management LLC rescinded the offer in response to a vehement Twitter campaign.
The overturning of Juror B37's book deal is an example of the power of social media. It is a testament to the fact that no voice is too soft or insignificant to speak out what a person believes. By joining together under a common cause and using social media to reverberate a message, people can reveal injustice and prompt change.
At 1 a.m. on Tuesday July 16, only hours after Martin announced her excitement about a book deal with Juror B37, she posted a statement from the anonymous Juror; "I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book an return instead to my life as it was before I was called to sit on this jury."
Not so fast ...
Juror B37's decision catalyzed an intense backfire from the American public, especially among those who already considered the acquittal of Zimmerman to be an event of extreme injustice. So Did Juror B37 suddenly feel her conscience kick in and abandon the book deal to do what is right? It seems more likely that the Juror was forced to do an about face.
Only minutes before Martin posted Juror B37's statement, @sharlenemartin posted via Twitter that "after careful consideration of the book project with Zimmerman #JurorB37, I have decided to rescind my offer of representation."
Spearheaded by a fearless leader, @MoreAndAgain, protesters took to Twitter with a Change.org petition, pushing Martin to drop the book deal. The petitioners begged supporters of Trayvon Martin "please don't allow this person to profit off of the injustice that they've served to the American public." According to an article on BuzzFeed, "by 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, [the petition] had more than 800 signatures." But who is this @MoreAndAgain who is being held responsible for Martin's about-face? The little we know about this influential figure comes from her Twitter handle.
The takeaway from the events that took place over the past 24 hours is that we all have a voice that carries weight if only we are brave enough to project it. These people who took to Twitter were not celebrities with hundreds of thousands of followers. It was the power of social media that brought together these diverse and distant voices who were all demanding the same justice.
While we must not be blind to the downsides of social media, it is important to recognize its power for change. Just look at Kony 2012 or the Arab Spring to see how social media has "reinvented social activism." Thanks to the internet, issues of civil and human rights cannot be contained — they quickly become campaigns to be carried out in different languages by people of diverse cultures, races, religions and locations around the world. Websites such as Twitter and becoming the voice of our generation, a platform from any message — no matter how big or small — can be projected and heard.