“Black Lives Matter is an activist movement founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi that originated in the African-American community to bring awareness of the violence and racial injustices such as brutality, racial profiling, and systemic racism African Americans face in the United States (Benjamin-Grant,2016).” From its humble beginnings of being a hashtag circulating on Twitter in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder, it has become a call to action that is nationally recognized (“About | Black Lives Matter.”). “The movement’s first major and nationally recognized street demonstration was for Mike Brown which resulted in protests and unrest in Ferguson causing the Ferguson hashtag to be synonymous with the movement. Other hashtags associated with this movement are the names of the deceased African Americans such as Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile who were killed by law enforcement officers that this movement advocates for (Benjamin-Grant,2016)”.
With this being a movement to promote racial equality for African Americans it receives a lot of support from #BlackTwitter, which is the African American community of Twitter, they are the main “influencers”; the people of #BlackTwitter retweet and share the BLM posts the most. Even though Black Lives Matter is an organization that purposes itself on promoting and uplifting minority communities, specifically the African American, it has been met with a lot of opposition. The opposition for this movement comes from #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter. #AllLivesMatter is a popular hashtag on Twitter that is used as a response to #BlackLivesMatter. Their purpose is to emphasize that all lives matter not just black lives. However, BLM supporters know all lives matter but they feel that at this moment in society black lives are the ones being threatened and they feel that #AllLivesMatter is trying to take away from the focus and importance of #BlackLivesMatter. The Black Lives Matter Movement is just trying to bring awareness to the issues African Americans face that Caucasians do not face in a society that is supposed have racial equality. “While Blue Lives Matter refers to the blue uniform that police officers wear. The hashtag #BlueLivesMatter is used as a tag on posts regarding anything about support and sympathy for the police force or discussing the importance of the police force in communities in general (Muhammad, 2016).”
As stated before Black Lives Matter has a presence on Twitter. As of today, BLM has a following of 190 thousand on Twitter making it the most successful social media platform they use. Black Lives Matter uses their Twitter page to post the stories of local injustices of the African American communities primarily, however, hey do feature injustice of other minorities from time to time. They use Twitter to make their followers aware of the injustices happening to entice them to rally together and go out on the streets and protest. With their strong following, their cause has a presence on other social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. A lot of the post tweeted on Twitter makes it to Instagram where people will have discussions or just inform their follower of what is going on in the community; the same can be said for Facebook. For example, on Instagram celebrities, especially during the final days of the election, talked about the importance of the African American community uplifting each other and voting for someone that will help support our community.BLM has gotten even rappers, such as The Game and Snoop Dogg to become socially conscious and make their followers, particularly the male following, aware of what is going on and remind them they need to be respectful to police officers. While Facebook users that support the BLM movement usually post memes taken from Twitter to start a discussion among their friends and bring attention to the injustices that are happening in the society. Black Lives Matter even has a presence on YouTube; right now there is a powerful mannequin challenge done by BLM being shared via YouTube. The mannequin challenge is a new trend where you freeze and stay still like a statue while music plays in the background. BLM has taken advantage of this new trend that is popular with the youth and made a mannequin challenge video of them reenacting the shootings of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and other that have lost their lives due to police brutality. By doing the mannequin challenge BLM have caught the attention of the younger demographic. ( https://youtu.be/RBfS69dZ-Ok )
Recently there has not been any wrongful killing of an African American by a police officer that we are aware of so BLM has not been advocating for anyone specific at the moment but with the recent Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday they have been encouraging everyone to support black businesses. BLM encouraging their followers to shop black was a continuation of the movement #investblack that they started during the summer. Earlier this year, BLM got people to invest $100 in a Black Owned bank. #InvestBlack was meant to get the attention of white business owners to show that black lives dollars matter because a good portion of their revenue stems from the black community, therefore, black lives matter. This shows BLM’s dedication to uplifting the African American community is any way they can.
While tracking this topic, I was surprised by the blatant hate there is for people of minorities. Here are so many people with hatred in their heart for a group of people only on the basis of their skin tone. This just shows that there is still so much work needed to be done to humanity.
However, with the presence of social media, BLM is able to reach the masses; even people that are not active on social media have heard about the Black Lives Matter Movement because it eventually ends up being covered on TV by one of the news networks. With the help of social media, the injustices of the African American community will no longer be swept under the rug and ignored. Black Lives Matter will be seen and heard; the revolution will be televised.
“About | Black Lives Matter.” Black Lives Matter RSS2. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2016.
Benjamin-Grant, Paula. “#BlackLivesMatter.” New Media & Power Course Blog. N.p., 11 Sept. 2016. Web. 04 Dec. 2016.
Muhammad, Aminah. “#BlueLivesMatter.” New Media & Power Course Blog. N.p., 13 Oct. 2016. Web. 04 Dec. 2016.