Social Media and the BLM Movement

Black Lives Matter Photograph

A few days ago, looking out of my window, quarantined in my home, 21 floors above the ground, it felt like the apocalypse. Watching the hundreds of protesters in front of my building on Wall Street, I immediately wanted to join the protest and forget about the fact that we were in the midst of a global pandemic. Right now, myself and many others are stuck in a difficult position. Go protest about this cause and potentially contract or spread the disease, or stay home, quietly post on social media, and stay safe. While there is a global pandemic right now and we still have to be careful, that doesn’t mean we should be ignoring the other issues at hand. 2020 is going to be the most influential year for my generation. 

Although using social media to protest and speak up can be looked at as performative activism, it has actually been incredible for resources and communication. When I talk to my parents about the police brutality, corruption, and racism in America, they often have different views than my friends and I. Videos of black people getting murdered and police officers shoving a 75 year-old man to the ground are shown on the news everyday, so I feel super motivated to do something about it. They make me want to go out and protest and make a difference. But, my parents and some of their generation don’t have the constant flow of new information from social media that we get from Instagram and other platforms. 

At first, I was hesitant to post on social media about the movement. There were many posts circulating that stated that it wouldn’t achieve anything. Some informed that the people posting these posts were simply showing off the fact that they weren’t blatantly racist. A few kids even posted these stories, and continue to use the n-word and make racist jokes in their everyday lives. This is what I mean by performative activism. Only posting and speaking up so people believe that you are supporting the movement, but not going to protests, sharing resources, donating money, or even signing petitions. At some point I felt like if I didn’t post anything on social media, people would think that I didn’t support the BLM movement, or just didn’t care. I started reposting pictures with resources and other ideas to help with the cause. 

There was one day a week or two ago called “Blackout Tuesday”. It was started by a few black artists to take a day to refrain from posting personal pictures, and promote black communities, businesses, and voices. People started to post a black screen with the #blacklivesmatter and call themselves activists. This aggravated many people because not only are they drowning out important information and resources that protestors were using to communicate and stay safe, but they would continue to promote themselves, and not even follow the guidelines of the “Blackout”. Not everyone who participated did it the wrong way, with some using their black squares to share more resources and inform others about what the day meant. 

I am grateful for social media because I believe I am much more informed as a result of using it everyday. However, although there are twenty-two million posts under #blacklivesmatter, not even one million have signed a petition for national action against police brutality. Two million have signed for Justice for Emerald Black. Three million have signed for Justice for Ahmaud Arbery. Seven million have signed for Justice for Breonna Taylor. Already, petitions achieved the charge of Officer Chauvin for second degree murder instead of first. In addition, they have begun action to remove Confederate statues and flags all over America. Imagine if all twenty two million people that simply posted about Black Lives Matter took some time and signed a few petitions instead. What if those twenty million people each donated fifty cents? Or a dollar? The change we can make right now is endless, but it is vital right now that we aren’t just posting on social media and are actually making our voices heard in real life. 

Some petitions you can sign: 

Text or Call:


  • Text “JUSTICE” To 668366