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A Jump to Reality
Protests, Marches, Rallies
As the popularity for the hashtag increased, many people felt they were truly going to be heard by action, including civil disobedience. The use of social seemed to merge into reality just as Lori Emerson discusses in “Indistinguishable from Magic: Invisible Interfaces and Digital Literature as Demystifier.” Emerson says that "Again, of the foregoing interface designs imply a belief in the value an interface that recedes from ideally to the point invisibility, which now also implies inaccessibility" (Emerson 6). The interface of social media reached this point of invisibility as people turned to reality instead of virtual reality.
#trayvonmartinThe first protest featuring #blacklivesmatter was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, in response to George Zimmerman's verdict of innocent. Many people seemed to believe that the life of an unarmed, young Black boy meant nothing to the judicial and police systems, let alone to society as a whole. This outcry created a foundation for future protests against police brutality upon the African American community. Thus the Black Lives Matter Movement was created as a real-life civil rights movement in addition to the virtual movement with the hashtag.
Phase 1After the shooting of Michael Brown, another unarmed, teenage African American boy, the public erupted again in response to another act of police brutality commited by officer Darren Wilson. The three female founders of the Black Lives Matter movement came together once again to come up with a way for people to make their voices heard. The solution was a bus, later known as the the Black Lives Matter ride, to take people to Ferguson, Michigan, to act on their right to the First Amendment. More than 500 people from 18 different cities across the U.S. signed up for the bus. In Ferguson, many of the protesters held posters and banners with #blacklivesmatter. The cause had reached the world.
Phase 2On November 25, 2014, Darren Wilson was ruled innocent despite him shooting Michael Brown. Many more people fled to Ferguson, including many celebrities. Destruction commended again.
#SandraBland #sayhernameSandra Bland was the first African American to take a video of the assault by police. The impact of the video itself and seeing it as if you were there caused shock throughout the country. Social media could not contain all of the emotions from this video so people the protests continued; however, this time people from all cultures came out to support.
#icantbreathe #EricGarnerAfter the video of Eric Garner being tackled and then squished to the point of asphixiation despite his cry, "I can't breathe," many people were outraged like never before as they watched an innocent man die because of the color of his skin. Celebrities everywhere reached out to support the cause of Black Lives Matter. T-shirts and other types of memorabilia were distributed world-wide to emphasize the police officers' choice to continue persecuting him when they heard him say that he could not breathe. Protests reached another spike.
Too many hashtags for one summer...#AltonSterling, #PhilandroCastle, and the list goes on and on. The summer of 2016 back-to-back acts of police brutality caused a sort of fear across the nation for the extinction of African Americans. It was time for people to take a stand. City to city hosted large protests with the Black Lives Matter movement. The NAACP got involved, as well, which caused a sort of revival of the organization for the youth. The Black Lives Matter movement had developed 31 chapters across the nation. I supported the movement as well, as I attended many marches and rallies in Atlanta, Georgia, that summer.