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Whose Voices Are Heard? Exploring the voices of the Black Lives Matter movement: Social Media
The online companion to A Black History Month display created in partnership with the students of Dr. Dana Schowalter’s COM 442: Communication and Social Change class
Student summary: "The official Black Lives Matter Facebook page was created in 2013. The page has given information about the movement, inequality, police violence, news about the government, things that people are doing for the movement, and provides [links to] the Black Lives Matter website and other accounts."
Twitter profile for Rep. John Lewis, Congressman for Georgia's Fifth Congressional District. Student summary: "Lewis’ recent feed is full of references to Martin Luther King, Jr., calls [to] action for political causes, and educational tweets. This contributes to understanding BLM as well as racial inequality because you are getting the facts from someone who not only has been fighting for the cause for decades, but also sees the issues through the lens of our government and political climate. He offers a point of view that is unique because of his history and current position in government. He is working to reach out to multiple generations and races through his political and creative work and that to me, is admirable and inspiring."
Twitter profile for Deray Mckesson. Student summary: "This source makes an incredible contribution to Black Lives Matter because DeRay Mckesson takes you inside conversations about culture, social justice, and politics by exploring the history, language and people who are shaping the struggle for progress- as well talking about the steps that each of us can make to make a difference. Each week the conversation is recorded for the podcast 'Pod Save The People.'"
Twitter profile for Colin Kaepernick. Student summary: "Unlike many other activists, Kaepernick sacrificed his career and millions of dollars to stand against the current state of racial inequality we live in. He used his platform of being a professional athlete, on a nationwide level, to speak out against police brutality, racial, and social injustices. Even off the field he shows us that he will retain his voice and ability to take a stand. Visit his profile and you will see organizations formed and funded by the community beside Kaepernick, working to fight for change and social justice."
Twitter profile for April Reign. Student summary: "Reign works for a non-profit arts and services organization that helps artists handle the business aspects of their work. Through her work with this organization, Reign has interacted with a large variety of people from different walks of life. Her ability to succeed in the marketing work adds to her credibility- she is experienced and has achieved a lot. She is also current, she live tweets from various events like the Sundance festival or offers live commentary on awards shows and interviews. Using her platform to support job networking for all kinds of people doing all kinds of jobs shows less bias. She does have a slant however, a lot of the groups and movements she supports have certain political leanings. The overall tenor of her page is not sensationalist. While there are causes she has spoken up for that I disagree with, her way of handling such issues makes me want to engage with her anyways. She also links to a lot of articles, other activists, actors, commentators and politicians to provide more than just her side of the story."
Twitter profile for "Harry Triple O." Student summary: "From striking videos to important historical figures, this account is filled with controversial and, more importantly, insightful knowledge in regards to racial injustice. Sometimes our own knowledge is blocked by the understanding that we aren’t in the midst of this oppression. Accounts, such as Harry Triple O, lend us the knowledge that we are all a part of racial injustice, and until we start becoming active participants in the progression of justice, we will continue to be passive bystanders who turn our heads away."
Student summary: "Thomas is not only a prominent black activist but also a candidate for one of the three seats on Paterson City Council...This upcoming political figure has made [many contributions to] the Black Lives Matter movement, which have unsurprisingly lead Mr. Thomas to receiving the Dr. MLK Jr Human and Civil Rights award."
Created by Kleaver Cruz. Student summary: "Cruz intended the Black Joy Project to become an outlet for healing and protest. In addition, it facilitates positive images of black people to become a focus in media rather than ones of violence or crime. The Instagram account is full of smiling faces and personal statements telling about what black joy means to them. Sydney Bobb wrote, "It's a pathway to liberation, a consciously chosen emotional act of resistance against a harsh world.” This project is important because it allows individuals to express themselves in a positive way, while recognizing that the world still has a long way to go."