Blog Entry #9: Black Lives Matter

On one hand, I think that online connections are most definitely useful for disseminating information, spreading ideas, and creating discussion among individuals and large groups of people who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to connect with one another.  Conversely, I do think that, overall, social media and other online connections enable people to take a very lazy approach to activism.  As I have said before, people seem happy to argue conflicting views with one another from behind the safety of their various screens, but where does that really get us?  Does anyone really change their viewpoints from these types of discussions?  I don’t think so, but at least they’re happening.

As far as the Women’s March on Washington goes, I think it is absolutely phenomenal that it happened, and I wish I could have been there myself.  However, what was really accomplished by it?  What was the goal (of the organizers or attendees)?  Was the goal reached?  I can probably learn the answers to these questions by doing a quick Google search (a definite pro of online connections), but if I have to search for the answers, how effective was the march?  Was anything really changed as a result of the march?  Not that I am aware of.

The Black Lives Matter movement is a bit different, in my opinion.  I’m a major supporter of it for many reasons (I even own a BLM t-shirt ☺).

For one thing, it is a succinct statement that, in my opinion, can’t be argued (unless you’re a jerk).  Black lives DO matter.  Plus, the Black Lives Matter movement has translated into rallies and protests and, for some people, sparked real change.  It is an ongoing movement, not a one-time march, and people throughout the country (especially young people) need to hear it.

My favorite Black Lives Matter moment was in June 2015, when the leader of the movement, Bree Newsome, climbed the Capitol flagpole in South Carolina and removed the Confederate flag from its pole.  This action (and thus the Black Lives Matter movement, since Bree was acting as part of it) led to a real, tangible change; the following month, South Carolina permanently removed the Confederate flag from its Capitol grounds.  With the flag’s historical ties to racism, racial injustice, and slavery, its removal has been a long time coming, and I think it is fantastic that Black Lives Matter, an originally online-based movement come to life, was the catalyst for that change.

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