Activism or Slacktivism? Or neither?


Our era of activism depends heavily on actions similar to Facebook’s Rainbow Pride filter. Likes, shares and hashtags are all used in combination with profile picture changes to bolster efforts across channels and spread awareness. It introduces users to a topic they may have never heard about and, not only opens their eyes, but can also inspire them to do research on their own. Who knows what new cause will motivate someone to seek out more involvement? For example, how much do you know about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? What about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?
*Emphasis above mine

  1. Keep the action simple (without simplifying the idea behind it).
  2. Connect with real life campaigns.
  3. Understand your limitations.

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‘Cecil’ was not my beloved… but his death made me think


Few (if any) of these people rallying for ol’ Cecil have shown their public concern and care for Zimbabweans (beyond stifled jokes about the country being mismanaged and some such “woe is Zimbabwe and her faceless people” type jibes). I’m not asking that they do, but that they don’t is quite telling.

Amidst all the white noise, it’s become apparent to me that a lion, as you must already know, is more valuable than any Zimbabwean. Me included. Continue reading


#IfIDieInPoliceCustody the White & Black media would never let you see this picture & they'd blame me for my death.

This is a the heartbreaking twin to #IfTheyGunnedMeDown and a sad commentary on the news surrounding the death of Sandra Bland. Reading them is very emotional, and achingly poignant to imagine having to give a directive to the public in case of an untimely encounter & death at the hands of police. Especially given the low suicide rate among African-Americans, the troubling events surrounding this story, the lack of answers, and a multitude of questions.

Once again, the victim in this case is already being tainted by release of her previous report and saying in a video that she “sorta suffered from Depression & PTSD” using her very own words, which may have been said off-the-cuff to basically obscure the case, and subvert justice. A thorough investigation and what should be ongoing outrage and protest over this matter. Visit #IfIDieInPoliceCustody or see a few of the tweets below the break ~

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Black users on Vine

“Blackness contains multitudes and black Vine magnifies the diversity therein.”

Vine allows for hilarious, multi-faceted, complex and game-changing
commentary that is not possible elsewhere

This article on Black Users on Vine: “Celebrating Blackness 6 seconds at a time” by Hannah Giorgis [ @ethiopienne ] is very laudable, yet open to what I consider a serious critique. Especially given her previous focus on activist causes, and her ability even to see Black Art as both personal & political  and recognizing that as dangerous too. To relegate the activist angle to a single link or a quick mention of it documenting Ferguson, while also lauding it as democratizing is concerning and should be addressed.

This critique primarily focuses on the original article ignoring the element of social activism & justice while lauding it for its pop culture swag, when much of the humor as she duly notes is a cultural critique on whiteness & its supremacy. To me these things are inextricably linked. It is perhaps, specifically because I was only initially encouraged to use Vine, because of Antonio French’s dispatches from Ferguson, that this issue is so important to me. Other people too have used it with great effect at raising awareness, generating humor, while also enlightening us. It is a very strong tool at critiquing media coverage specifically. Continue reading

Ella Taught Me

Shattering the Myth of the Leaderless Movement

Those who romanticize the concept of leaderless movements often misleadingly deploy Ella Baker’s words, “Strong people don’t need [a] strong leader.” Baker delivered this message in various iterations over her 50-year career working in the trenches of racial-justice struggles, but what she meant was specific and contextual. She was calling for people to disinvest from the notion of the messianic, charismatic leader who promises political salvation in exchange for deference. Baker also did not mean that movements would naturally emerge without collective analysis, serious strategizing, organizing, mobilizing and consensus-building.

— Barbara Ransby

via Ella Taught Me: Shattering the Myth of the Leaderless Movement | Colorlines.


Stop Bullying or Stop Stealing?

stolen_not attributed Bullying Poster Series

This is an example of someone taking another person’s work & sharing it to great effect, without attributing it to the artist in any way. Notice it has 73k likes, BUT 223k shares. That is a ton of people to see & share or like a post, remarkable by any account. The comments (what few I saw) were rather childish in nature and I avoided them after that, poking fun at the idea, and should be expected on something that gets that many shares on Facebook, it just becomes a chance for people to clown the concept.

Want to see the whole series of posters? 
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Meet the Woman Behind #BlackLivesMatter

When George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges after killing Trayvon Martin, Alicia Garza of Oakland, California, turned to Facebook to express her anger and sadness. As a longtime social activist, Garza, who is now 34 years old, had been working for years to end systemic racism.


One reason the reach of #BlackLivesMatter has spread so far is that it’s more inclusive than traditional civil rights movements. “Our diversity in leadership is an important component,” says Garza. “We have diverged from a model that is about following one charismatic leader, usually a man who is straight.”

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