Over the past 24 hours, my Facebook news feed has transformed from proclamations of mealtime shenanigans to statements of unwavering support as thousands of Facebook users change their profile picture to a red marriage equality logo. Facebook is not new to these soapbox tendencies, but this rally of unwavering support across increasingly polarized groups is unusual.
This red equal sign did not appear out of thin air. It was created by the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that supports marriage equality and is asking gay marriage supporters to “paint the town red.” But, this is much more than a public relations stunt.
How do we inspire deep connections across disparate groups of individuals?
Rather than a call to action, let’s consider a call to emotion. This is not to suggest that we resort to slideshows of puppies with a Sarah McLachlan soundtrack, but the widespread prominence of a single logo in support of a once controversial cause emphasizes the motivational force that human emotion can have for individuals and groups. Emotion is a legitimate tool for mobilization, and the personal is powerful.