NYU Students Create Service to Bring Protests to Your Phone
Feb 8, 2017
Students will never have to worry about missing a protest again with the creation ResistX — an SMS and email service developed by two NYU students that alerts users about the time and location of future protests.
Gallatin junior Sara Nason and Tisch junior Arsh Harjani developed ResistX to consolidate information about protests occurring across the five boroughs so that students could easily track the events. Nason and Harjani cultivated the idea for ResistX while attending a protest against President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban in front of the Federal Courthouse on Jan. 28.
Nason said that during the protest she turned to Harjani and suggested they create a text service to improve prospective participants’ accessibility to demonstrations, but the idea was not immediately pursued. It was only during another protest at Battery Park that they decided to develop the concept. Nason said the app has been more successful than either of the co-creators anticipated.
”It’s literally been a week, which is crazy, and we have a few hundred people already signed up,” Nason said. “We started last Sunday, and it came from us being at a protest together and saying, ‘Oh, there’s a real need for this.’”
Nason said that even though she is involved with a number of NYU’s political clubs and considers herself aware of events occurring around the city, there are many protests she has been unable to attend simply because she lacked sufficient information.
“There are still some significant gaps,” Nason said. “I would know about 90 percent of the protests going on, but there would still be some that I missed. We’re trying to get the information to everyone as easily as possible, and make sure that they can find it no matter where they are.”
Harjani said that the duo hoped to promote cooperation between movements when designing the service. He believes that the service will provide opportunities for people to attend demonstrations for issues that they have inadvertently muted.
“One thing that we considered when we were starting ResistX was the fact that we all get information about demonstrations through our [social] networks, which are limited,” Harjani said. “If, for instance, someone is passionate about LGBT rights, they would be following organizations that work towards that cause and wouldn’t necessarily get the information regarding other issues.”
He said that regardless of the administration, people should still attend rallies and protests in solidarity but that right now, the need is greater than ever.
Gallatin sophomore Katie Mulkowsky is among the hundreds of New Yorkers currently using ResistX, and she likes how ResistX includes events that cater to a variety of social and political issues.
“Intersectionality could not be more important to stress right now — it’s entirely ineffective for just one, privileged subset of a group to advocate without nuance for a cause that affects many,” Mulkowsky said. “I hope that ResistX continues to include notifications for a variety of protests, from those concerning climate action to those concerning LGBT rights, while ensuring in every way possible that their base of subscribers is just as diverse as these events are.”
Mulkowsky said that ResistX and the message of action it promotes is more important than ever because of the country’s current political climate. She said that although attending small-scale and campus-based protests can help promote change, people need to participate in bigger movements to incite government action.
“These issues and their tangential implications have always been necessary to fight for, but before Jan. 20, and thus before the advent of ResistX, organizing daily on a massive scale did not seem as immediately pressing as it now does,” Mulkowsky said. “What ResistX does, in the context of widespread sentiment throughout this city and country, is provide a network for individuals to come together on a larger scale — sending bold statements straight to our government about what we will and what we will not stand for.”
Email Antonio Wovchko Fratto at [email protected]