One of the greatest developments in technology thus far has been the creation of mobile apps. They allow us to stay connected to a world outside of our immediate purview and expand our horizons. And while the potential social impact of such applications might seem trivial, it’s hard to ignore their potential. Today, users can enjoy constant access to educational tools, particularly in the nuanced realm of anti-racism. In an age when information is so universally-accessible, remaining blind to Black history and obstacles to equality has become inexcusable. Fortunately, there are tools to help guide your education and advocacy.
As a way to honour Black History Month and the importance of knowledge, we’ve crafted a list of six apps to emphasize everyday anti-racism and social justice. While these practices need to be acknowledged year long, each app positions us to see patterns from the past that might otherwise be invisible in the present. Through these six apps, we’re able to integrate compassion into our daily lives and educate ourselves on peoples’ behaviour, emotions, and lifestyles. Some of the apps listed are interactive, allowing users to uncover stories tucked away in history. Others are catered towards gamers, where you’ll participate in a virtual reality quest to understand diversity and gauge different perspectives from minority groups about the way they live.
Considering there’s an app built for everyone and everything, it’s time that educational apps be recognized, particularly those being used to reclaim truth and social justice for the Black community.
Lessons in Herstory
This interactive app allows users to unlock stories about coloured women lost in history. To use it, simply scan the image of any man in your textbook and you’ll unlock a story about a related woman. The app captures the attention of users with the use of colourful graphics and blurbs of text, and is filled with an expansive variety of women to choose from. The augmented reality offers mini profiles on impactful women of colour to educate its users about the importance of history and change.
Everyday Racism serves as an immersive game, played from the point of view of someone else. In the game, users have to challenge the way they think about and handle racism, giving them the option to play as three characters of different backgrounds. For days, simulated prompts will appear on your phone, with questions, microaggressions, and even videos, as if you were truly living as your character. Alternatively, you could choose to play as yourself, watching acts of racism unfold around you. This game places non-BIPOC people in positions where they might be able to gain a new perspective on how to be an ally or avoid their own microaggressions in the future. By putting players in other peoples’ shoes, the game offers a multitude of perspectives on racism that are still present in our everyday lives but can often go unseen or unheard.
NMAAHC Mobile Stories
With this app, users can pay a virtual visit to the National Museum of African American History & Culture! The app features objects from each collection as well as detailed stories about each exhibition. Curated to help museum lovers enjoy their on-site visits, you’re also able to plan out your journey through the museum with the interactive maps posted on the app. Additionally, this app gives users the opportunity to ‘explore how American values are reflected in African American history and culture.’
Crafted with a simple design and wonderful concept, Colorful Minds is an app that brings you Black history facts with the push of a button. Each day, users will be notified with a fact about an influential individual within the Black community. The app gives you the option to share/save facts you like, both online and offline. This platform proves effective at educating individuals about the importance of culture, diversity and history at any given time of day.
Founded in 2003, this app gives people the ability to record conversations about their lives to share with others. After being provided a safe space to record, that recording is then uploaded to the American Folklife Centre at the United States Library of Congress. From there, you can search for conversations to listen to from varying generations. Preserving our stories is important as it works to build connectivity and create a more compassionate world throughout, which is exactly what StoryCorps aims to do.
5 Calls: Contact Your Congress
If you’ve ever wanted to make a change and haven’t known where to start, 5 Calls: Contact Your Congress can be a good first step. With this app, you can make five calls to different representatives, depending on the country you reside in. Scripts will be provided to you through the app catering to each important issue, whatever it may be—topics of diversity, injustice or resilience, to name a few. Because calling is the most effective way to let your voice be heard, this app allows you to do just that. The focus is to raise awareness to important issues that have not yet been addressed by governmental authorities. 5 Calls is an app that allows us to strive to be better and more unified across the globe.