The pandemic is exposing contradictions and inequalities in our society. While the pandemic is difficult for everyone, people of color and low income individuals have suffered the most. This has led to greater empathy and solidarity within our communities. Activists are practicing self-care, community care, sharing initiatives, support, webinars, and conferences.
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was founded after Trayvon Martin’s murderer was acquitted in 2013. Their mission is to eradicate white supremacy, stop violence by the government on black communities, and empower African Americans. BLM is 6 years old, and was founded by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors.
The pandemic has greatly influenced the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S. by creating a greater feeling of greater support and solidarity in our communities which led to more protests surrounding racialized police brutality and criminalization. COVID times have highlighted the inequities that marginalized communities are facing, especially within our healthcare system and education systems.
“The issue is not simply the deeply rooted racism and other related issues, such as gun violence and police brutality, but rather a moral and ethical vacuum in the time of global corporate authoritarianism. We are living in an extremely divided world.”
– Ai Weiwei, world renowned artist and activist
This heightened awareness has caused a surge of activism online. Instagram and Tiktok have become instrumental sources to help learn how to support the movement, BIPOC communities, educate themselves and their communities, become an ally, and involve the youth. TikTok became the hub of videos shedding light on the violent police response to protests in DC, showcasing vicious tear gassing.
Beyond the screen, there was an even larger surge of action on the streets. They spread out across and beyond the US, with 59 other countries participating. Some analysts believe that this mass mobilization is due to the 2020 CoronaVirus lockdowns. The BLM protests had never been so supported, especially by white people.
“I really do think that this pandemic is the reason so many white people care.”
– Dr. Nicole Fisher , American Human Rights and International Policy Advisor
This raised the question, “Why now, white people?” Not only were people more likely to be home, but many people used BLM as an outlet for their anger or fearfulness. Whether it be frustration with President Trump or being quarantined, BLM gave people a common facet to rally against. Dr. Fisher, a social psychologist, does not believe that the BLM protests would not have been as successful without the global pandemic.
“Aboriginal Deaths in Police Custody Are Fueling an Australian Black Lives Matter Movement”
“How Black Lives Matter Is Strategizing Protests Amid A Pandemic”
“TikTok, the Pandemic platform for community, resistance, and activism”