How to Support #BlackoutTuesday Without Drowning Out Vital Black Lives Matter Resources

If you’ve logged on to Instagram today, you’ve probably seen all the black squares and #BlackoutTuesday hashtags. The social media campaign, which asks Instagram users to flood the app with black squares instead of their typical content as a show of solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement, is spreading at a wild rate. Unfortunately, what was meant to be a unifying gesture has made finding resources, donation links, and information about how to navigate this time even more difficult.

For those who are still unsure of the origins of #BlackoutTuesday and are confused about what to do today to show your support, here’s what you need to know:

Who started #BlackoutTuesday?

This social campaign was inspired by the music industry’s move to show solidarity with Black people by pausing their regular social media programming. Of course, this is an easy way to show support, and as many have pointed out, if the insanely rich music industry really wants to effect change, they will open their purse as well.

If It Shows Solidarity, Why Shouldn’t I Post the Black Square?

Police brutality has been an issue for so long, and it feels like many people are just now waking up, speaking out, and protesting alongside Black people. If you’ve been silent and complicit in systemic oppression in the days, months, years, and decades leading up to these protests, consider finding a better way to amplify the issues at hand instead of just posting a black square and sitting back for the day.

And as well-meaning as this might be, many people are posting the black square and tagging #BlackLivesMatter, which clogs up the tagged feed and makes it harder for people to find vital information. In times when fake news is an even bigger threat than usual, it’s important for people to see what is really happening. Kehlani said it best when she posted this:

please listen to kehlani

Ultimately, if you decide to post a black square, don’t tag #BlackLivesMattter. I promise, your Instagram activism will still count.

What Do I Do If I Already Posted and Tagged #BlackLivesMatter?

Be gentle on yourself. You were trying to show solidarity with your community or be a good ally, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you want to make sure you’re amplifying Black voices and beneficial resources, nobody is stopping you from posting again on your account and refilling #BlackLivesMatter with that information. You could also consider editing your caption and taking out #BlackLivesMatter to make sure you’re not suppressing any useful resources.

Just remember that no matter what, you should keep using your voice, keep amplifying, and keep fighting for a better world. This doesn’t end today or with one hashtag misstep.

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