While closing remarks are being delivered to a jury of women in Florida for the George Zimmerman case, social media is protesting. While surveys show that many African Americans feel that Zimmerman will walk, Facebook-ers show their support and hope for justice for Trayvon Martin by blacking out their profile pictures–a symbolic gesture.
Social media has changed the way people interact with each other, is it any wonder that it would change the way people protest also? It’s no longer necessary to take to the streets with signs and raised voices. It is no longer necessary to link arms and hold a position with the opposing forces staring you down, armed with weapons to subdue or kill you.
Marching in the streets is just a thing of the past. Now, with the simple click of a button, you can join millions in protest from the safety and convenience of your home while watching “Sports Center.” You can say you stood with millions and fought, and never get your hands dirty.
Perhaps the people we are fighting for need a stronger commitment from us. Today, while Zimmerman is on trial for murder—an African American Florida woman, Marissa Alexander, was found guilty of attempted murder for firing warning shots at her abusive husband. She’s been sentenced to twenty years; her actions apparently not supported under the states “Stand Your Ground law,” even though no one was murdered.
As outraged as African American’s are about Trayvon Martin, we should be just as outraged about Marissa Alexander. And our outrage, our voices should extend beyond the confines of social media. A million blacked out photos are not loud enough to halt a person in their tracks to make them think.
As easy as it is to post, it’s just as easy to click the red X. But let a hundred people gather peacefully and frequently, and now someone has to listen. Let’s be visible, not digital. People like Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander need us to be seen.
— Amber Bogins Real Times Media, Michigan Chronicle