Social media has revolutionized grassroots advocacy. From publicizing events and rallies to keeping people informed of updates and changes, it has become an indispensable tool for MEUSA and many other organizations. The demands are many, from content to technical expertise.
Fortunately, MEUSA is lucky to have Juan Carlos Fernandez coordinating its extensive social media outreach. "I'm in charge of spreading MEUSA's message through outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+,” says MEUSA Social Media Director Juan Carlos Fernandez. "I'm trying to create a community through social media that will help the organization to reach its goal of equality for all."
Juan's involvement with MEUSA dates back many years. A year ago, however, he says, "I decided to work more closely with the organization as the marketing lead for the MEUSA New York City Gala. My involvement became deeper because of personal circumstances," he says, explaining how he and his husband Paul were separated by the American / Mexican border for three years.
"After 9/11, a lot of international companies sent their international assignees back to their home countries. That was my case. In order to keep our relationship alive, we had to go through international travel, immigration, customs, etc. It was hard for both of us. I was in Mexico City, Paul was in San Jose, California. We tried to make the most of it using vacation and work travel to meet as often as we could. That lasted almost three years before I finally got a long-term job in the United States and my permanent resident status. Love won!"
Juan, who also holds Spanish citizenship, notes his frustration that Spain was well ahead of the United States in implementing marriage equality worldwide. An option that would have been available to him in Spain would not become widely available in this country for many more years. "What was surprising," he says, "is that the Church [in Spain] didn't do more against it. This year, we will celebrate 10 years of marriage equality in Spain!"
Juan says working the New York Gala in 2014 was one of the highlights of his volunteer work with MEUSA. "It was really exciting because we had Mayor di Blasio as the main speaker. That was a hoot!" He says he also finds it satisfying to share good news about marriage equality through social media (and last year we had a lot!), especially enjoying feedback from supporters. "It's very nice and encouraging to see the support we get from the people," he says.
Juan says his perspective of the marriage equality movement has changed as a result of his volunteer work with MEUSA. "I've seen the benefits of our work, personally, and for others. I'm now convinced more than ever that we need to keep fighting until EVERYBODY enjoys the benefits of marriage equality."
First photo: Juan Carlos
Second photo: Juan and his husband Paul (in foreground)
Third photo: Juan and Paul with Juan's niece and her wife in NYC