Written by Alvin Young
This week, I had the opportunity to join the Progressive Technology Project’s webinar on #BlackLivesMatter. BLM Co-Founder, Alicia Garza, explained how #BlackLivesMatter is a tool to address the dehumanization of black people throughout the United States. Armed with a robust social media strategy, #BlackLivesMatter provides a platform for the voiceless, and the millions oppressed by state violence.
While it is widely accepted that social media cannot replace on-the-ground activism, it is a tool with the ability to break through cultural, social, and political barriers. The #BlackLivesMatter movement taps into the power of social media by creating grassroots mobilization with tangible outcomes. What is unique about #BlackLivesMatter is the organization’s ability to maximize the effectiveness of various social media platforms. For #BlackLivesMatter, Facebook serves as a space to connect individuals, share news/articles, develop analysis on various issues, and conceptualize ideas for the organization’s many followers. Twitter serves as the organization’s method for collecting quick information, and informing the public of details in meetings. Moreover, with an awareness of the government’s ability to invade an individual’s privacy, #BlackLivesMatter uses Tumblr as a private space for its members to share their stories.
During the webinar, Ms. Garza referenced the inability of social media to build political power but its ability to inspire people to take risks, and bring awareness to the condition of others throughout the world. Social media platforms are an essential part of an organization’s effectiveness and communication strategy. It gives individuals a platform to voice concerns and outlines their thoughts and actions. However, for #BlackLivesMatter, social media allows everyday people to contribute to an organization and a movement geared towards reenergizing social activism and humanizing the black experience.
As Ms. Garza explained, “#BlackLivesMatter is a love note to capture the hearts and minds of people.”