Jacqueline Kim, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, June 1st, millions went onto their social media platforms to post an image of a black screen, accompanied by the hashtag “blackouttuesday.” On Instagram alone, the hashtag directs users to over 28 million individual posts from accounts across the globe. Many celebrities and social media influencers used their platforms to advocate the same hashtags to promote “black rights” and call much needed justice to our social systems.

Since the death of George Floyd on Monday, May 25th, a momentous series of movements for black rights have taken the complete attention of our nation. Since the video of the now ex-policeman Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck has gone viral, the realities of racial inequity have been further brought to light. Protesters and family fought until Chauvin was charged, and after Floyd’s death while in custody, many have been urged to seek justice in honor of Floyd’s name, and those of so many others. Names such as Breonna Taylor, Ahmuad Abrey, Trayvon Martin, and David McAtee, black individuals who have also faced similar confrontations and deaths due to police brutality, have been posted and tweeted as invigorated social media users have worked to promote racial equality and bring these unacknowledged inequities to the surface of the media.

Beyond just media support, many have taken to the streets despite social distancing and quarantine regulations, in order to protest. Protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Floyd’s home-city, ignited protests in multiple other cities and states across the country, including New York City; Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Washington D.C.; Los Angeles, CA. Thousands have gone out of the safety of their homes in order to protest in unification for black justice. However, many protests have escalated to extreme violence and destruction as protesters have vandalized significant monuments, looted countless businesses, and set shops, buildings, dumpsters, police stations, and police vehicles ablaze. Many police officials and authority figures have worked to suppress crowds with extremities such as tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper pellets, as many local cities have involved their State Guards and even called the National Guard for protection. However, there is yet much dispute as to the rights and motives between both parties’ actions. While some claim that the police officers began the violence, others argue that the protesters were to blame.

All across social media, the realities of the protests and riots breaking out across many major cities across the country have been revealed through short snippets filmed by participants of the demonstrations. And many across the nation have become increasingly frustrated by the harsh ways through which the police officers and officials have responded. Pictures of bruises from rubber bullets, the aftermath of tear gas, and countless upsetting videos of officers aggressively advancing on protesting crowds have been pervasive on the media, invigorating individuals across the world as the violence only continues to increase. 

Many have organized means to continue to spread such media, while rallying the country in support of black power. People have been sharing links towards donations and funds, while passing on countless reposts for justice over social media, brandishing the tag “BlackLivesMatter.” And so on Tuesday, June 1st, individuals and significant influencers shared a black screen in an act of empowerment. However, there have been a few significant issues, as many blackscreen-promoters have tagged their posts with the hashtag “BlackLivesMatter” or “BLM.” The original “BlackLivesMatter” hashtag and all its important related posts soon became overwhelmed with black screens that drew audiences away from important information concerning the protests. Many quickly revised their hashtags, urging others to simply caption their posts as “BlackOutTuesday” instead. Social media feeds have become overpowered with posts of black screens as communities come together to fight for rightly-deserved justice.

Despite these devastating, challenging times of chaos, destruction, and confusion, we’ve been able to see how much of the mission has been completed. Although protesters fighting against police brutality and flaws in the justice system are quite far from peace in many areas, the events across the past two weeks have forced millions to truly focus on reeducating themselves and acknowledging the depth to racism that is undeniably evident today. Millions have been driven to cast aside prejudice and offer their support through reposts, petition links, and simply acknowledging the present conflicts, using social media platforms and outlets to make a change. Despite these times of division and demolition, we’ve been able to witness a unity among races greater than ever before.