Ferguson Cools Down Ice Bucket Challenge

Don’t you love the Internet? It makes mountains out of mole hills, and can turn a quick fad into a worldwide phenomenon.

Orlando JonesCase in point: The Ice Bucket Challenge. At least this time an Internet frenzy lead to the ALS Association raising more than $70 million for research and care for people afflicted with Lou Gerhig’s Disease.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is a simple concept: A person challenges their friends to either give money to ALS or dump a bucket of icy water over their heads. In addition to the countless everyday people who have taken the challenge and/or donated money, dozens of celebrities in the United States and Britain have challenged each other and posted their videos online.

The guests and hosts of the “Jimmy Fallon Show” are a fun example of how the challenge works:

Again, the challenge is to either donate money to ALS or share a video of you pouring ice water over your head. Actor Patrick Stewart seemed to be one of the few celebrities who gets this:

This watery sensation is a welcome bit of Internet fun during an otherwise troubling and violent summer. It’s important to call attention ALS and other diseases. But the U.S. has long suffered from a societal disease that caused an outbreak in Ferguson, Missouri.

Actor and comedian Orlando Jones brilliantly connects the Ice Bucket Challenge with the Ferguson protests against racial profiling and police violence:

What is the cure for the ongoing disrespect, dehumanization and violence against people of color living in the U.S. — especially African-American men — at the hands of police officers and others claiming to uphold the law?

Like the campaigns to end other maladies, the first step is to raise awareness about the problem.

Whitney Curtis, The New York TimesPhoto credit: Whitney Curtis, The New York Times

When a young man fears police harassment anytime he is driving or walking down the street, not because he committed a crime, but because he has black or brown skin, there is a problem. And it is all of our problem, not just certain people.

Summer is almost over. Autumn is a time when many people begin new ventures.

What do you plan to do to call attention to the issues that matter to you? What injustice or situation do you want more people to pay attention to? What is your protest? What are you willing to pour ice water on your head for?

Fighting ALS is important. So is fighting racial injustice. And it can be just as deadly for those afflicted with it.