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Hashtag Activism and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

First – before you read any further, if you have either enjoyed the celebrity ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE videos or have participated in making a video yourself…. and if you have not already made a donation to ALS – then GO IMMEDIATELY TO THE ALS WEBSITE AND MAKE THAT DONATION.

And don’t think that just because you didn’t dump a bucket of ice on your head in the name of raising awareness for a charity that’s fighting the good fight for thousands of people, if you laughed even once at the antics of anyone who did do it – you owe ALS money.

I Survived the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
I Survived the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

We think we can all agree that dumping a bucket of ice water on yourself has absolutely no relationship to ALS. There really is no connection – especially as you get further and further away from the original source (which may or may not be ALS patient Pete Frates, depending on who you believe).

There’s a lot of folks who are sitting back and pointing fingers about how the ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE is stupid. It’s not doing anything to raise awareness of what ALS and ALSA.ORG are all about beyond encouraging people to donate money.

Some people aren’t even including a callback to ALS in their challenge videos. Some people figure that dumping ice on themselves precludes them from having to donate money to a charity.

There are those those who are scared that the ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE in August will turn into the PINKWASHING money raising campaign in October to raise money for Breast Cancer research (perhaps by dumping a bucket of Pepto-Bismol on yourself?).

And all of those questions raised are true.

But does it really matter?  Nobody should really care what those people think.

So what if there is no connection between ice and ALS? So what if another charity decides to do their own variation on the Challenge that’s equally silly?

The point is that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised awareness of ALS and of ALSA.ORG.  That millions of dollars have been raised, one bucket at a time, to a cause that’s as equally as worthy as any other medical research group is.

And you don’t have to go to the store to buy a “Pink for October” box of food, where proceeds from the food sale are donated by the company. The best part of the Ice Bucket Challenge is that it’s being done by everyday people – and by celebrities, and business honchos too – and it’s something that makes you feel a part of a larger movement.

And after all, isn’t being a part of something big (while also giving back a little) something that we can all be proud of?