SMU Student With Goal to Change Protests Forever

When George Floyd’s death occurred last May, an SMU student already had an app in the works to benefit people seeking the hard-to-find details of protests. Equity Ahead was in its beginning stages and wouldn’t be released to the public until February 2021, but the motivation to speed up the process was ignited at this time.

“That just catapulted me to work on it even harder,” Tyne Dickson, creator of Equity said.

Houston is Dickson’s hometown, and while attending protests there, it wasn’t easy to find answers to where protests were, what they were about, and who was hosting. This helped her realize how necessary her app, Equity Ahead, would be for social justice movements.

“It was really difficult,” Dickson said. “I know that affected the sustainability of the movement and I know it affected participation.”

She said she believes the United States has the power to create great social change, but it would take large amounts of grassroots activism, mobilization of the movement and mass participation. Dickson said these ideas are not currently being implemented in the organization of protests but her app could change that.

“Accessibility to fighting for your own rights is actually not that common,” Dickson said. “A lot of times, it is the people that are privileged to not have to deal with certain things that get to speak up and have a voice.”

She said this is the reason her app is so important — it gives anyone who has the app a voice and the ability to fight for their own social change.

Dickson said the app has two purposes. The first is to see, plan, and post protests and public demonstrations in your area. The second is to provide a social media platform for people to discuss movements and for organizers to put out resources and information.

“The general purpose, that hopefully in the future can grow even more, is to become an entire social activism app,” Dickson said.

Anyone who downloads the app and makes an account is able to create events and make posts, therefore giving everyone a voice. Several human rights issues are included within the app and users can request new categories if they don’t see the one they are looking for. Currently, only events in Texas are available to post.

“We are building the tech to be able to service nationwide events, but anyone can download the app and anyone can post on the social media portion,” Dickson said.

In order for the app to grow, Dickson emphasized the importance of people sharing it with others and those interested in social justice. She said the best way for the app to spread is for those who are interested to follow the Instagram account and share a post. The app can be downloaded at this link.

“Even if you’re not interested in using the app, downloading the app helps a lot in terms of the internet algorithms that exist,” Dickson said.