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5 Ways to Stay Involved in the Black Lives Matter Movement

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Martin Luther King Jr. making a speech in front of a crowd of people.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement gained heightened social media presence in May 2020, in response to the murder of George Floyd, and some have noted it as the most significant civil rights movement since the 1960s. Others have called these movements one and the same, with the ongoing protests being taken up by a new generation to continue the same fight. Regardless of how historians classify these events, they serve as a reminder of the justice needed for POC (people of color) who have suffered at the hands of brutal police and a corrupt justice system.

After the murder of George Floyd,  the BLM movement exploded worldwide, but as time passes, some become less involved in protests and activism, while others forget about it entirely. In addition to this, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has continually complicated the organization of protests and other events in support of the BLM movement, especially as cases continue to rise exponentially. To make matters worse, the mass media has turned its attention away from the movement, taking away the spotlight on this vital social issue.. Fortunately, as the world moves continually online, there are several ways to stay involved in the movement, even if activists must get creative with how they go about it.

1) Online Threads and Forums

One of the most critical ways one can remain active in the BLM movement is through communication with other activists and, most importantly, people who have lived through the racism that this movement is trying to prevent. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) have actively created online threads and forums to share and discuss their experiences as marginalized communities in the United States.

Twitter has become a hotbed for these kinds of interactions, with these threads painting users’ feeds in the immediate months after the murder of George Floyd. Since then, these threads have occurred less frequently, but they can be easily found with a quick search of specific keywords, such as “BLM,” “racial injustice,” and other phrases significant within the BLM movement. These threads are mainly created by BIPOC speaking on their experiences, so critical reading is especially important to catch the details and nuances of their specific experience.

2) Educate Yourself on Intersectionality

Intersectionality, or the links between different social identities, such as gender, sexuality, and race, has come to the forefront of discussions in response to the BLM movement. However, many still don’t understand the complexities of having intersecting identities. This has become especially prevalent as light is brought to the specific struggles of black women, such as how they are treated in the workplace or hospitals (especially during and after pregnancy). After Breonna Taylor was murdered in her home in Louisville, Kentucky, her story has become a particular note in the BLM movement.

BLM artwork on a brick wall depicting George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

There has been significant discourse surrounding queer identities in BIPOC communities, particularly how they are affected by homophobia and transphobia, as well as the increased prevalence of STDs in these communities. Author George M. Johnson wrote in their 2020 memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue about the heightened conflict that queer BIPOC face, elaborating on the violence and hate that black youth face as they come into their queer identities. By acknowledging and learning more about the intersectionality of BIPOC, activists can help protect and make space for them.

3) Support BIPOC Creators and Businesses

People often picture activism as marching in protests and posting solidarity posts on social media, but it is far deeper than that alone. In a society that has actively suppressed black voices and the works of other people of color, one of the most important ways activists can support BIPOC right now is by uplifting their voices and work, especially that of independent creators whose income relies on the support of their communities.

A shop window with a sign on it saying, "BLACK OWNED BUSINESS"

Supporting independent BIPOC creators empowers them and promotes their visibility in the world, not only through increasing their success, but also through the celebration of their work. Many BIPOC creators are influenced by the culture of their ancestors, much of which has been historically and traumatically destroyed. By supporting black and indigenous creators, you can help return some of this culture to the modern-day, instead of letting it be lost over time.

4) Actively Diversify

A crucial aspect of the BLM movement is the recognition that other identities exist outside of your own, and from that, creating spaces for those individuals. Recognizing these people and actively diversifying your space and the spaces of others allows for marginalized groups to have a voice in places they otherwise would not have.

Diversity activists, two women and a man speaking into a microphone.

Diversifying your own social media feeds and who you interact with in real life might be easy enough for some, but diversifying spaces that you don’t necessarily belong to can often be challenging. Because of this, it is important to hold authority figures and leaders accountable by calling for more diversity and recognition of BIPOC within positions of power and influential groups of people.

5) Mutual Aid and Direct Donations

BIPOC are disproportionately impacted by poverty and wealth inequality within the United States, and many have been harmed further because of the fines placed upon those at BLM protests. At the height of media coverage of these protests, a plethora of bail funds circulated on social media for others to donate to. Since then, more GoFundMe’s spot Twitter timelines and Instagram stories, giving donors the opportunity to give directly to BIPOC in need of financial assistance.

An activist standing in a crowd holding a sign with "BLM" written on it.

These donations can lead to mutual aid, with the recipients of the donations able to continue protesting and working for the betterment of everyone in our society. It serves as a reflection of the good that is accomplished through the efforts of protestors, activists, and allies. By reciprocating the aid you are given, you learn how these social issues apply to you, even if you are not directly impacted by them. Regardless of how you aid the BLM movement, the work of activists is continuing, with or without media coverage.

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