(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
Social media has become a place to watch stories unfold, to learn, to hear from voices that mainstream media doesn’t showcase. It’s no different in Baltimore, where activists and community builders have taken to Twitter and Facebook and Instagram to tell their own narratives.
Here’s a look at 10 organizations and individuals focused on racial justice whom you should pay attention to. (Also, tell us who we missed.)
With 552k followers on Twitter and 40.7k followers on Instagram, 31-year-old DeRay McKesson is one of the most visible figures of the Black Lives Matter movement. He is well known for being active in protests against police brutality in Ferguson, Mo., Baton Rouge, La., Charleston, S.C., and in his home city of Baltimore. He took part in launching Mapping Police Violence, which tracks known police killings in the U.S. He also helped develop Campaign Zero, a comprehensive list of policy solutions to address police violence. McKesson ran in Baltimore’s 2016 mayoral election, but came in sixth with just 2.5 percent of the vote.
I love my blackness. And yours.
— deray mckesson (@deray) September 12, 2016
Baltimore BLOC is a grassroots organization that aims to rebuild communities and advocate for kujichagulia, or self-determination in Swahili. The group has 13,800 followers on Twitter. It shares information about protests and events like Donald Trump’s visit to Baltimore on Sept. 12 and an open mic to raise funds for the family of Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old mother who was shot and killed by police last month. Baltimore Bloc also retweets and shares posts about other issues like the conflict between Israel and Palestine and the protests led by indigenous peoples against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
— Baltimore BLOC (@BmoreBloc) September 8, 2016
Whether or not you knew the photographer’s name, you may recognize this photo or maybe this one or maybe even this one. Devin Allen, 27, photographed many of the protests in Baltimore last year and was featured on the front cover of Time Magazine’s May 11, 2015 issue, as well as in the New York Times. Allen has 111k Instagram followers and 15,100 Twitter followers. He also collects and donates cameras to Baltimore youth.
A.F. James MacArthur, known as Credible Threat on Twitter, runs the blog the Baltimore Spectator and has been reporting and commenting on police and criminal activity since 2009. MacArthur was involved in a five hour standoff with Baltimore police in December 2012, during which he live tweeted the exchange. MacArthur has 11.3k followers on Twitter and the Baltimore Spectator’s Facebook page has more than 6.5k followers.
Listen, when I call for increased accountability & professionalism in law enforcement it's not because I "hate cops."
— Credible Threat (@BaltoSpectator) September 11, 2016
Baltimore Racial Justice Action is an “action-based organization grounded in collective analysis of structural racism and white privilege,” according to its website. The organization seeks to work toward racial equity by offering consulting, workshops and training to individuals and companies, assistance to other organizations, support to educational events and community for those who are interested in learning about the goals of BRJA. Through Facebook, the organization shares relevant articles and events like a meeting on Sept. 13 to discuss next steps following the Department of Justice’s report on Baltimore.
The Peoples Power Assemblies works to build equality for workers and marginalized people through organization, protest and advocacy. The group shares current events and protests on Facebook, Twitter and its website, like a Sept. 14 “No DAPL Baltimore Solidarity Action” protest against TD Bank’s involvement with the Dakota Access Pipeline and “Baltimore Solidarity with Prisoners Strike and Attica Uprising” on Sept. 9, the 45th anniversary of a riot at Attica Prison in pursuit of prisoners’ rights.
Adam Jackson, aka @SmartBlackMan, is the CEO of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a grassroots think-tank that utilizes public speaking, community engagement and advocating for changes in public policy to advance Black people’s empowerment. Jackson is also the director of the Eddie Conway Liberation Institute, a national policy debate camp that seeks to “connect policy debate and social justice.” Jackson has 4,200 followers on Twitter (though he’d tell you that number isn’t everything) where he often advocates for grassroots organizations and political change.
Name all the biggest development projects in Baltimore history and you'll see that behind the curtain is always white institutional control.
— Adam Jackson (@SmartBlackMan) September 11, 2016
Luminous Intervention is an artist collective that uses public, large-scale projections to feature social issues like rape culture, the school to prison pipeline and the use of drones in war, as well as issues that directly impact Baltimore. The collective is made up of seven artists, activists, educators and engineers, including Zoe Bachman and Olivia Robinson. The collective has also collaborated with groups like the Fair Budget Coalition, Queerstories and United Workers.
The Baltimore Algebra Project is a by the youth, for the youth nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality education and advocating for youth employment. It posts on its Facebook page and Twitter about Black history and math memes, like this one (with a puppy!) and this one (with pizza!). The group also frequently uses hashtags like #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackExcellence to empower black youth.
Youth Resources is another youth-led organization that seeks to provide funding, training and support to other youth groups to develop projects that address issues in the community. The organization conducts two funding cycles per year, one in the spring and one in the fall. According to its website, since its establishment in 1994, Youth Resources has distributed more than $500,000 to youth-led projects.
— Youth As Resources (@yargrants) June 28, 2016
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