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'Blackout Tuesday' marks a day of silence to reflect on racism in America

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Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 6:56 PM CDT
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It’s been a little more than a week since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, but activism in the wake of his murder is still going strong.

A new initiative, called Blackout Tuesday, is taking action on social media in solidarity of the Black Lives Matter movement.

If you’ve logged into social media at all today, you’ve probably noticed the absence of pictures, selfies and memes This movement is a virtual moment of silence called Blackout Tuesday.

Organizations, businesses, and users are posting plain black squares to social media Tuesday, vowing to stop posting and remain silent for the rest of the day.

Eric Sivertsen, CEO of Sioux Falls Marketing agency Epicosity, explains what impact this type of social media action could have.

“If you would shut off a certain demographic and let another demographic speak, that could absolutely be a way in which, I would say, the information is more focused,” said Sivertsen.

He added, “From just the interworking of social media and just how the platforms go, that would be a way to kind of channel one message throughout the entire platform.”

That is the exact goal of this movement, highlighting voices of the black community and allowing others to listen.

Vaney Hariri, a speaker from Sunday’s protest in Sioux Falls, says the volume of not only individuals, but also large companies taking part has been powerful.

“It’s letting us know that people who have the power and resources to change and affect these things and to put pressure on the folks who make these decisions are being engaged in a way they haven’t been in the past,” said Hariri.

Earlier Tuesday, users noticed the abundance of posts were unintentionally clogging social media feeds by using the black lives matter hash tag.

“When [many] people hashtag it, it overloads it. So, it’s hard to communicate effectively through it,” said Hariri.

It’s since been cleared up that users need to be using the specific hashtags: the show must be paused and black out Tuesday.

Hariri says right now, action is needed more than anger, “We need you to participate, get in the game. And sometimes that may be mentoring. Sometimes that may be putting pressure on your officials. Sometimes that may be showing up and advocating for people, using your seat at the table to help other people get a seat at the table.”

As of 3:30 P.M. Tuesday, the hash tag #BlackoutTuesday has been used nearly 25 million times.

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