I thought that one interesting idea would be to look at how mental health activism has manifested itself in the world of social media, and how the Facebook “Memorial” feature has changed the discussion platform about suicide on the internet. Another idea would be to look at activism around sexual assault on college campuses and specifically focusing on Stanford’s new alcohol policy and how that is or is not an appropriate step towards eliminating sexual assault on campus. A third idea would be looking at the “Every 15 Minutes” campaign that has been implemented in many schools in California to reduce drunk driving incidents and what the key to its success has been. I grew up in the countryside of England, so I thought it would also be cool to look at how the Brexit vote came to be what it was and how it compared in many ways to the 2016 election in the U.S.
My favorite idea and the first idea that came into my mind when thinking about what research project ideas was looking at the role of activism in the AIDS epidemic, especially focusing on how activism played a key role in pushing medical, social and legislative advances in the 1980s in San Francisco. I took a Sophomore College class on the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, and one of the aspects of the epidemic that I wished we had delved further into was how those who were affected by the disease were able to create a voice for themselves despite being a severely marginalized group of people. I also want to explore how the Ryan White Care Act functions within the larger framer of AIDS activism. The Ryan White Care Act was one of the biggest steps in providing funding for AIDS research, and it was only passed after a young white child from Indiana with hemophilia, Ryan White, contracted AIDS after a blood transfusion. It was with this one young child contracting the disease that legislators and the American public were finally unable to ignore AIDS because now it was not only affecting gay men in San Francisco anymore. I want to explore the larger idea of how AIDS activists worked with the American mindset in whatever way they could to promote research and equal rights for LGBTQ people.