Lately, whenever I walk around certain parts of campus, I see the words, “#ToImmigrantsWithLove Clothing Drive” plastered on the walls, and the more that I have seen this phrase, the more I have started to think about the “#ToImmigrantsWithLove” portion of it.
From a grammatical point of view, this phrase makes no sense since it is just two prepositional phrases put together–there is no subject or verb, the basic building blocks of a sentence. However, within the context of a culture in which it is far from unusual to begin a piece of correspondence with “to” and end it with “with love,” it is quite easy for people to recognize that this phrase is utilizing parts of the format of a letter/postcard/email/etc. But by incorporating only the very beginning and ending phrases, rather than some sort of “main message” slogan or phrase, it is implied that there is so much more that wants to be said, that there are so many personal and heartfelt messages for immigrants that want to be, and are being, voiced. In this case, donating gently used clothes embodies everything that the people involved want to convey.
This then moves me to my next point: the hashtag. The decision to use a hashtag gives the phrase another layer of meaning because it indicates that this phrase is representative of a larger movement/campaign with an online presence, and is thus something for everyone to participate in, or simply just see.
However, the creation and advertising of this phrase as a hashtag is also indicative of the fact that this movement finds its roots, or is mostly driven by, the younger generations. This is because the hashtag has only really become prevalent in recent history, and thus only those who have been very active or involved with modern technology/ the Internet will truly understand what the hashtag represents. Unsurprisingly, this group primarily consists of people from younger generations. Therefore, the mere existence of this hashtag, but also the marketing of this hashtag, only leads to the conclusion that it is younger, more plugged-in people at the helm of this very worthy campaign.
However, I sincerely hope that we do not get so dialed into the details that we forget what this movement aims to do at a macro-level: to not only acknowledge the common humanity in a marginalized community, but also work to counter the arguably dominant narrative that immigrants are unworthy, unwanted, and unloved, particularly here in America.