In the midst of a year that will be marked in history for all the wrong reasons, attention is being brought to the atrocities afflicted upon the black community more than ever. The protests and demands for change this year began with the excessive use of police force in the murder of George Floyd. Since then, many other cases and injustices have been made apparent to the public. During this time, there are so many ways that one can show their support and push for change within our community.
However, some people have lost sight of these positive means of spreading awareness and have begun to make attempts to reach people in the wrong ways. I am aware that the intentions of these people may be nothing but supportive, but the light needs to be shined on this misuse of their platform. Many celebrities, influencers, and internet personalities have begun sharing posts advertising their bodies in a sexualized way to get the attention of their viewers. The caption on their posts would say something along the lines of "Now that I have your attention…arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” There are also posts that say “Arrest Breonna Taylor’s murderers” in a format that resembles common internet jokes known as memes featuring jokes, cartoons, and insensitive imagery. This is what leads to the problem at hand, the “memeification” of the death of Breonna Taylor.
It is understandable these revealing posts are what usually bring more attention than any other posts made by these influencers. But at this time, with so many people being brutally murdered and attacked, it is not appropriate to use these kinds of posts to bring attention to justice for these people because it becomes a trend that people start to follow without taking any real action. People can easily ignore the caption and view and share the post because of the enticing image rather than the performative call to action. With that being said, there is no need to have these revealing posts when trying to bring attention to the wrongful deaths of so many people. Though the people posting may think they are doing the right thing, they are unintentionally disrespecting the deaths of these martyrs by reducing their image to a sexualized one.
A few days ago Riverdale actor Lili Reinhart posted a semi-nude photo with the caption “Now that my sideboob has gotten your attention, Breonna Taylor’s murderers have not been arrested. Demand Justice.” After receiving criticism and threats she has since deleted the post and issued an apology for her insensitivity. Breonna Taylor’s name has been desensitized and has been made into more of a trend to show how “woke” someone is. Imagine how disrespectful this is to her family... her mother, her boyfriend-who watched her get murdered and held her as she died? She was an actual person. Her name and identity have been stripped of humanity by social media.
Sadly, not everyone who has been called out for their actions has rectified them. There remains a number of bloggers and influencers who have received constructive criticism and have been educated on why those posts are wrong but have left them online with the same damaging captions, for example, the well-known Jersey City Blogger Lynn Hazan, better known as ChicpeaJC (shown to the left, screenshots were taken right before this post was published capturing how long the image and comments were up, but the image is now removed on the account, right after publishing this). A link was put in her caption where you are unable to click, rather than her bio, and after multiple comments, there were no acknowledgments by her or a change of caption. However, this goes to show that some people can claim to be an ally and support the cause but are not willing to adjust their ways and grow from mistakes, or at least acknowledge the wrongdoings. Of course, these individuals may help in other ways, but it is important to take advice from the community and rectify your actions. If one way helps and another doesn't, a true ally will learn, recognize, and move forward. At the end of the day, it is easy to recognize the performative activists and those who value likes and retweets more than appropriately and effectively fighting for change.
REST IN PEACE BREONNA TAYLOR.
WE MUST HONOR HER NAME.
WE WILL GET JUSTICE THE RIGHT WAY.
HOW TO HELP THE CAUSE
Donate to the Justice for Breonna Taylor Go Fund me here
Sign the Change.org petition here
Post informatively about Breonna, using the hashtags #BreonnaTaylor, #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor and #JusticeForBre. Her story has still not received the national attention necessary to cause local systems to respond.
Share her story, images of her smiling face, and tag the responsible parties.
On Twitter, use @LMPD, @LouisvilleMayor, and @GovAndyBeshear.
On Instagram, use @LMPD.ky, @MayorGregFischer, and @GovAndyBeshear.
Call and send emails to the investigative agencies, institutions, and individuals in charge and make the demands known!
Contact information for Louisville/Kentucky officials can be found here
Speak and/or write clearly that you make the following demands on behalf of Breonna Taylor:
The Mayor and City Council address the use of force by LMPD.
Fire and revoke the pensions of the officers that murdered Breonna. Arrest, charge, and convict them for this crime.
Provide all necessary information to a local, independent civilian community police accountability council #CPAC.
Create a policy for a transparent investigation process due to law enforcement misconduct.
The following demands have since been met:
All charges for Kenneth Walker, Breonna’s boyfriend, who attempted to defend them and their home were dropped.
The 911 call has been released to the public for accountability.
No Knock warrants eliminated.
We should continue taking these forms of action until justice is served for Breonna Taylor and her family.