#BlackOutTuesday: Here’s how to participate responsibly

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If you’ve checked your Instagram feed recently– and you’re not living under a rock– you’ve noticed that social media is in a state of blackout. People are posting black images and holding off on personal photos, but many are misunderstanding the point of #BlackOutTuesday. Here’s a rundown of what’s going on, and how to get involved responsibly.

This movement originally started with two music industry executives who wanted to hold a day to reflect on police brutality and take action against racism. Jamile Thomas and Brianna Agyemang started this as a way “to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community”… but please, do NOT share a black square on Instagram with the hashtag “#blacklivesmatter” and call it a day.

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We say this for a few reasons. First, anti-racist action is always needed– this isn’t just an Instagram trend, it’s a lifelong commitment to change. Second, using the #blacklivesmatter hashtag on a blank post is unintentionally hiding informational posts usually associated with that hashtag.

Many people don’t realize that Instagram is a tool for organizing. The #blacklivesmatter hashtag is normally used to receive information, so putting a blank post under this filter wastes valuable digital space that could otherwise be devoted to spreading knowledge.

If you have already posted a black square using the hashtag, please remove your post and reshare with a more appropriate hashtag, like #TheShowMustBePaused. On the other hand, you could just delete your black square altogether and devote your time or social media influence to amplifying the voices of people of colour.

If you want to get involved, please consider donating to these anti-racist groups here in Canada. Educate yourself, post resources, donate, call, sign petitions, and take time for action.

As much as we all follow trends mindlessly, today is not about that. Today is about doing. Think critically about why you’re posting today, what you’re posting, and how you’ll continue to act after this movement is no longer viral. We love you Canada, now let’s go do the right thing.

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