Tackling Police Brutality in 140 Characters

Tackling Police Brutality in 140 Characters

In the world we live in today, it is hard to escape social media and its influences on how we live our lives. While police brutality is a very real issue that disproportionately plagues marginalized communities in the US, social media communities’ use of tweets, hashtags and live video broadcasting serves as a call-to-action to the masses to question the actions of these clearly racially and gendered biases laced in authoritative actions. Take Twitter: this social media site, with millions of tweets posted daily, rallies large groups of people across the nation—and the globe alike—around pivotal social issues. Scholar and civil rights advocate, Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw manages to articulate the lack of awareness afforded to the Black women affected by police brutality.

We also see police violence against Black and Latinx girls through the viral awakening on the missing teen girls in the D.C. area despite the lack of urgency shown by mainstream media to report the issue—ordinary folks on the Internet swiftly spread the news themselves. Police silence is a form of violence to these missing teens who disappear with no justice sought in their honor. The African American Policy Forum (AAPF) coined the now popular hashtag, #SayHerName, to loudly acknowledge the Black women victims of police brutality who have gone unnoticed in the eyes of the general public. Along with the efforts of the AAPF, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has sparked a social media revolution through online educational resources, tweets, hashtags and Facebook Live videos promoting the public to enforce accountability back on those designated to protect society—the police. The plight and raised social consciousness surrounding the police brutality against Black women in the US will be immortalized by hashtags—not as an end, but a means to the end of anti-black racism that fuels senseless violence against Black people.

The Twitter Essentials (clockwise): The co-creators of the BLM movement (Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi), Shaun King, Samuel Sinyangwe, Johnetta Elzie, DeRay Mckesson

Where Do We Go From Here?