Black Lives Matter Movement Fading Out of Mainstrean Media

Alison Choi, Staff Writer

In June, there were hundreds of peaceful protests for the Black Lives Matter Movement around the world, but now, the protests have completely come to a halt. Social media has become less focused on the movement and more focused on things like the presidential election and Covid-19. Summer gave people the opportunity to come together and fight for a common cause, but with the start of school and other rising events, the once major movement has faded out of the picture.

Over the summer, the Black Lives Matter movement was restarted because of the death of George Floyd, an African American man. On May 25th, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer Derek Chauvin killed Floyd, a 46-year-old father and husband. Chauvin had Floyd pinned face down at the neck, with his knee, in attempts to bring him into custody. For eight minutes and 46 seconds, Floyd was struggling to stay alive, repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”; and for the last two minutes and 53 seconds that Floyd was being pinned down, he was unresponsive. A video of the incident was posted to Facebook and the movement resumed.

Floyd’s death sparked the beginning of a revolution. Deino Scott, the moderator for the Black Student Union Club, Diversity Director, teacher and coach at Prep for 17 years, expressed his feelings on Floyd with heartfelt statements like, “I felt like the social issues and the killing of George Floyd was a social eruption and it just really hit me hard”.

Peaceful protests for justice started, “BLM” (Black Lives Matter) covered social media, and stories of other innocent lives started grabbing the attention of the media. Although most of the acts of injustice happened in the US, people from all over the world came together to help strengthen the movement by spreading activism for black lives. An example of how the movement made the world come together was through “Blackout Tuesday.” “Blackout Tuesday” was a global event that took place over the social media platform, Instagram. On June 2nd, millions of posts of a single black square, flooded the app. The act of posting a black square mainly represented three things: protesting against racism, protesting against police brutality, and a moment of virtual silence for lives lost.

Protests also started occurring all over the world and in every news outlet there was a story covering what people were doing to bring justice to George Floyd and the millions of other lives that have been affected. Scott communicated a message to “Educate yourself as much as possible” and to “pay attention to the news sources you listen to; listen to a variety”.

The news was not the only way information and activism was being spread. At least 26 million people in the US have participated in spreading awareness for the movement, through social media or protest. The peak of awareness was in June but continued throughout the entire summer. As summer turned to fall, and the chaos of school starting, mixed with the Coronavirus, there was a downfall of recognition for the movement. As teens and young adults, who were the main advocates, started school, many began thinking about the presidential election as the date came closer instead. Because of this, awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement slowly decreased.

The most substantial act of awareness, of the Black Lives Matter movement were the protests. They were the biggest representation for justice and every news channel would be covering them. One of the last big protests were on September 23rd and 24th. Cities including Washington DC, New York, Seattle, Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, and Portland concluded to protest in honor of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was an African American woman who was shot and killed in a crossfire, by a police officer with her boyfriend during a police raid gone wrong. Other than those, the protests that have occurred more recently have been small in number. Some protests even moved into white residential neighborhoods to spread activism to all people.

Now, the media is more focused on politics and how each candidate is doing with their party and of course Covid-19. With places re-opening and sports teams starting to play again, everyone’s attention gravitated away from the movement. Many people on social media platforms like Instagram have still been posting about BLM, but overall, things have gone back to “normal”. Social media has done a lot to promote voting for the election and spreading information about both parties instead. The movement is not over yet, but it was at its strongest during the summer.

African Americans are much more likely to be victims of violence and millions already have been. Despite movement not in the media limelight, it is still going, and will not end until people of color get justice.