Summer 2019 in hashtags

A summary of summer through Twitter’s trending hashtags

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#Stonewall50

On June 1, people across the country began celebrating Gay Pride. This year also marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a series of protests made by members of the LGBTQ community against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan. These demonstrations are considered to have been the start of the widespread fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States. Members of the modern movement for queer equality used this anniversary to reflect on the progress the community has made throughout the past five decades and what strides they hope to take in the  future.

 

#DemDebate

The first Democratic presidential primary debate began on June 26. Ten 2020 presidential candidates faced off in the first round of debates, taking on issues ranging from gun control to climate change. Some of the night’s most memorable moments included Beto O’ Rourke and Sen. Cory Booker delivering portions of their addresses in Spanish, Julian Castro’s strong case for the Equal Rights Amendment and a clear divide on the topic of Medicare, as Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio were the only candidates in favor of abolishing private insurance in favor of Medicare for All. Despite the many online jokes that emerged from the event, the primaries demonstrated each candidate’s personal platform and their individual political strengths and weaknesses.

 

#WorldCup2019

France held the eighth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in July. The championship was contested by 24 women’s national teams from across the globe. A prominent figure of the tournament was the American team’s co-captain, Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe, a self-described “walking protest,” quickly gained popularity for speaking about many political controversies. 

 

#Area51

In late June, three Facebook users created a public event with the title “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us.” The event’s purpose was to collectively charge onto the grounds of the military base on Sept. 30 in order to “see them aliens.” While the event’s creation was originally intended to be a joke, it quickly gained the attention of millions of people who had RSVPed to “attend,” while others marked their status on the event as “interested.” Many celebrities, such as Lil Nas X and Lizzo, began to join in on the fun by making posts mentioning the viral internet meme. However, in Aug., after discussing their concern for the possible turnout of the “raid,” Commissioners in Nevada’s Lincoln County unanimously voted to pre-sign an emergency declaration in preparation for the event. The U.S. Air Force also issued a response in July stating that an attempt to access the area illegally would be “highly discouraged.” Despite the sudden amounts of controversy this trend has caused, only time will tell what events will actually unfold on Sept. 30.

 

#FaceApp

In mid-July, the popular photo editing app started to trend due to celebrity influencers, from the Jonas Brothers to Courtney Cox, using the app to add wrinkles to their face and make themselves look decades older in what was dubbed the “FaceApp Challenge.” The sudden popularity of the app soon began to spike security concerns, causing people to worry about how the Russian-developed app used images and data supplied by its users. Security experts widely debated the app’s security and stated that while it won’t steal a user’s entire photo album, it still might not be risk free. What began as a social media trend quickly became a widespread concern over privacy policies and developer rights.

 

#ImpeachNow

Following Robert Mueller’s testimony to Congress, Americans spoke about their hopes that the House of Representatives would open an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. The Mueller Report did not find evidence that Trump conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential election and made no determination of whether he had obstructed justice. Some people have criticized Mueller’s investigation, while others supported the report’s findings. Since then, debates have continued to spark around the issue.

#GreenShirtGuy

At a city council meeting in Tucson, Arizona in early Aug. a protestor wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat started yelling against a proposed “sanctuary city.” While the protestor continued to shout and wave a sign that read “Respect our laws or we will deport you,” a man wearing a green polo shirt sitting in the row in front of her began laughing hysterically. The video quickly went viral, gaining over hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets across Twitter. The “Green Shirt Guy” was later identified as Alex Kack, who stated that he laughed at the protest because of “just how absurd it really all was.”

 

#EPStrong

On Aug. 3, a gunman opened fire at an El Paso Walmart, killing 22 people and injuring 24 others. After his arrest, the alleged shooter, Patrick W. Crusius, was quoted saying that he was the shooter and told police that he had targeted Mexicans. Nineteen minutes before the shooting’s first 911 call, an anti-immigrant manifesto linked to Crusius appeared online that spoke of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and contained details of a plan to separate America into racial territories. The events during and following the shooting were soon followed by a national outpour of support to the city of El Paso, the victims and their families. The events also sparked debates over immigration policies, gun control and white supremacy in America. Since the mass shooting, El Paso native and former congressman Beto O’ Rourke has made statements that he plans to organize his presidential campaign around gun control and immigration.

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