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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

@bluevirtu: the social justice platform you didn’t know you needed

First-year student, Kay Shao, started her own collective entitled “blue virtu” which aims to highlight multiculturalism and social activism.

In the past year, Instagram has become a platform for not only sharing cute photos of you and your friends, but also where social justice advocates can provide resources and information to the entire community. First-year Kay Shao has been an integral part of this movement through her Instagram page: @bluevirtu

The account was born July 7 and serves as a space that appreciates and promotes multiculturalism. Shao, along with the rest of her team of BIPOC creators, posts infographics aimed at showcasing and informing the public about the lives of minorities.

The account formed when one of Shao’s passions, poetry, brought her face-to-face with the reality that there weren’t many poets who looked like her. She had planned to make the page resemble a creative magazine that focused on poetry, prose and short fiction, but the account soon evolved in wake of the Black Lives Matter Movement to focus on minority voices with the incorporation of several movements, Shao said.

“I wanted to create a platform where Asian Americans, Black people and other minorities are motivated to explore their passions,” Shao said. “This account is meant to empower people of color through a creative space that fosters a multicultural appreciation of the human condition through infographics that spread good information—not disinformation or misinformation.”

According to Shao, the name “blue virtu” blossomed from the melding of the significance behind the Machiavellian concept of “virtù” and the traits of the color blue.

“Virtù is the ideology that individuals force their own destiny through their own human energy and action, and this is the same spirit we want our creators and learners in our collective to reflect,” Shao said. “We seek to empower and to be nonconforming, imaginative and resilient, all attributes associated with the color blue.”

Shao said the account follows the motto “Pride in Difference.” She believes it is important to find the beauty and unity in our distinctions, instead of treating differences as dividing factors. 

“I think we all struggle with fitting in and feeling ashamed of our differences, including me. I used to be ashamed of my small eyes but now I’ve realized how beautiful monolids are, and I’ve really found confidence in this,” Shao said. “I think that a lot of people face different differences that they struggle with or they try to hide, and it’s really important to me to recognize that differences are really very beautiful.” 

Today, the account boasts about 12,600 followers on Instagram, with her most liked post at over 115,000 likes after it was shared.  Although there are many accounts devoted to spreading awareness of social activism, Shao doesn’t wish to compete with any of them for attention or take away from their narrative but rather work with them towards a common goal.

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“I think a lot of things in this world are viewed as competition, but when we are fighting for social justice, there is no reason to be competing with other accounts because we are fighting for the same cause,” Shao said.  

Shao wishes to expand her collective by incorporating Vanderbilt students in the movement. She plans on doing this by reaching out to students to be photographers, models and even creative directors. In the future, Shao sees blue virtu becoming an organization at campuses nation-wide.

“There has yet to be something like blue virtu [at Vanderbilt] that combines creativity and social justice,” Shao said. “I think it’s really great that students want to be more involved and join the team.”

Keep your eyes open for the platform’s new podcast, “the dot by blue virtu,” which Shao said is expected to debut shortly.

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About the Contributors
Grace Delmonte, Staff Writer
Grace Delmonte ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science double-majoring in neuroscience and medicine, health & society. She is from Atlanta, Ga., and serves as a staff writer in the Life Section. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her running around Centennial Park, baking, working in her research lab or exploring restaurants around Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Marissa Tessier, Former Staff Writer
Marissa Tessier ('24) is majoring in secondary education and English. When not writing, she can be found at a café reading the latest YA novel. She can be reached at [email protected].
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3 years ago

Hahaha, Asians aren’t BIPOC. That’s why the acronym was created, to exclude “white-adjacent” people of color. If you’re going to judge the worth of people’s contributions based on race, at least get your stupid acronyms right.