In the face of tragedy, we are often able to see both the fragility and strength of humanity. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami has not only caused massive damage and loss of life; but has also allowed people from around the globe to use social media to coordinate global support and relief efforts.
The Los Angeles Times reports that in the face of widespread devastation, Japanese Americans are mobilizing using websites and email chains to raise funds for those affected in Japan. In a remarkable acknowledgement of a shared cultural background, and a clear commitment to humanity, organizations such as the Japan American Society of Southern California have been encouraging members and other Japanese Americans to donate funds to the Red Cross virtually. Using their vast network, the organization is raising funds at a rate that is likely to break the record $1.7 million raised in response to the 1995 Kobe earthquake.
Beyond financial support, however, Japanese-American publications are using Twitter and their own websites to provide frequent updates on the situation in Japan for Japanese immigrants living in the United States. Through tweets, one publication listed a number of Japanese telephone company websites that can be used to make international calls to Japan.
The power of social media is giving Japanese Americans the ability to transcend the spatial divide to express concern and offer support.
This article was featured in the March 16, 2011 issue of Diversity Best Practices’ email newsletter, Diversity in the News. To read additional stories from that issue, see the related content section below. To subscribe to Diversity in the News, register on the newsletter page of this website.