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Four Years After George Floyd: Reflecting on the Influence of Social Media on World Day for Social Justice




By Georgia Antonia Lewis


In honor of World Day of Social Justice and almost an entire presidential term gone by since the death of George Floyd, JCI would like to highlight some of the remarkable Black activists who are using their online platforms to amplify marginalized voices and push for systemic change.




What is World Day of Social Justice?

World Day of Social Justice, observed annually on February 20th, is a global initiative aimed at promoting social justice, equality, and human rights for all. Established by the United Nations in 2007, this day serves as a reminder of the international community's commitment to addressing issues such as poverty, gender inequality, discrimination, and social exclusion. It emphasizes the importance of fostering inclusive societies and providing equal opportunities for everyone, irrespective of their background. The United Nations recognizes the intrinsic link between social justice and sustainable development, acknowledging that social justice is crucial for the peaceful coexistence of diverse communities worldwide. On this day, various events, discussions, and initiatives take place globally, encouraging individuals and organizations to reflect on the collective responsibility to create a more just and equitable world. World Day of Social Justice underscores the UN's dedication to building a society where the principles of fairness, justice, and dignity are upheld for every individual, fostering a global environment that thrives on inclusivity and compassion.


Why is this day important?

World Day of Social Justice falls during Black History Month, a time to reflect on the progress and challenges in the fight for racial equality and justice. In recent years, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has brought global attention to issues of racial injustice and police brutality, sparking widespread activism and calls for change. As we mark this day in 2024, it's essential to examine the impact of social media on social justice movements, particularly in the wake of George Floyd's tragic death on May 25th, 2020.


The year 2020 witnessed the largest social justice movement in US history with the resurgence of the BLM movement. George Floyd's death at the hands of police brutality served as a catalyst, igniting protests and demands for systemic change. Floyd's unjust killing, captured on video and shared widely on social media, prompted a global reckoning with racial discrimination and police violence. The power of social media in amplifying the voices of marginalized communities and documenting instances of injustice cannot be overstated. Floyd's death, captured on camera, laid bare the systemic racism and police brutality faced by Black Americans. The viral spread of the video sparked outrage and mobilized millions to take to the streets in protest, both online and offline.


In the digital age, technology has become a vital tool in the fight for social justice. Social media platforms have provided a platform for marginalized voices to be heard, enabling activists to organize, mobilize, and raise awareness about issues of inequality and discrimination. The widespread dissemination of Floyd's story on social media propelled the BLM movement to the forefront of public consciousness, forcing a reckoning with America's history of racial injustice. Since Floyd’s death, we have seen a massive momentum of social media activists amplifying marginalized voices on their platforms. From the streets to Instagram, the following unsung heroes listed below are tirelessly advocating for justice, equity, and equality.


Alicia Garza (@chasinggarza): Alicia Garza, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, witnessed the movement gain immense momentum in 2020 following the tragic death of George Floyd. The haunting words "I CAN'T BREATHE" echoed across the nation, igniting widespread outrage and demands for justice. Through her leadership, she has successfully mobilized communities and driven policy change to address systemic racism and inequality.

Ayo Tometi (@ayotometi): Ayo Tometi, another co-founder of Black Lives Matter, has been a tireless advocate for social justice for nearly two decades. As the Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, she amplifies the voices of Black immigrants and fights for their rights in the United States.

Patrisse Cullors (@osopepatrisse): Patrisse Cullors, an artist, abolitionist, and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, has been instrumental in driving conversations around police brutality and racial injustice. Through her platform, she advocates for collective healing and abolitionist movements that center love and care.

Devin-Norelle (@steroidbeyonce): Devin-Norelle, a Black activist and trans advocate, uses their platform as a professional model and writer to uplift Black and LGBTQIA+ communities. Through their work, they challenge societal norms and advocate for greater inclusivity and representation.

Jerome Foster II (@jeromefosterii): Jerome Foster II is an inspiring Black activist who transitioned from climate striking outside the White House to becoming the youngest member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. His dedication to environmental justice and advocacy for marginalized communities serves as a beacon of hope for future generations.

Jamiah Hargins (@brownsuperdad): Jamiah Hargins is the founder of an urban farming non-profit who has transitioned his expertise to tackle food system inequality head-on. With a diverse background spanning public policy, recruiting, trading, and navigating complex political and financial systems. At the helm of Crop Swap LA (@cropswapla), he has redefined vegetable cultivation as a catalyst for change.

Shaun King (@shaunking): Shaun King, a prominent figure in social justice activism, has leveraged his platform to raise awareness about issues ranging from police brutality to racial inequality. With over 3.8 million followers, he serves as a valuable resource for news and education on pressing social issues.

Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross): Tracee Ellis Ross, known for her acting roles, is also a fierce advocate for women's rights. As the founder of the Time's Up movement, she amplifies the voices of women and advocates for gender equality in all sectors.

Nupol Kiazolu (@nupol_justice): Nupol Kiazolu, the president of the Youth Coalition of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, has been a leading voice in the fight for Black liberation and equity. At just 20 years old, her activism has sparked some of the largest BLM demonstrations in history.

Haile Thomas (@hailethomas): Haile Thomas, a youth activist and founder of HAPPY (Healthy, Active, Positive, Purposeful, Youth), empowers marginalized youth through holistic wellness education and plant-based nutrition. Her commitment to youth empowerment is reshaping communities and inspiring change.

Opal Tometi (@opalayo): Opal Tometi, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement along with Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza, is a vocal advocate for immigrant rights and human rights. Through her writing and activism, Tometi addresses the intersections of race, immigration, and social justice, amplifying marginalized voices and driving meaningful change.

Deray Mckesson (@iamderay): Deray Mckesson, an activist and educator, is renowned for co-founding the grassroots movement We the Protesters. His pivotal role in documenting and raising awareness about police violence, particularly during the protests in Ferguson, has shed light on systemic injustices and spurred conversations about racial equality.

Brittany Packnett Cunningham (@mspackyetti): Brittany Packnett Cunningham, an activist, educator, and writer, is a prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter movement. As a co-founder of Campaign Zero, she focuses on advocating for policy solutions to end police violence, working tirelessly to create lasting change and promote racial justice.

Tamika Mallory (@tamikadmallory): Tamika Mallory, co-chair of the Women's March, is a dedicated advocate for racial justice and equality. Her leadership in organizing the 2017 Women's March and her ongoing activism against systemic injustice have made her a powerful voice for marginalized communities, inspiring others to join the fight for social change.

Bree Newsome Bass (@breenewsome): Bree Newsome Bass, an activist, filmmaker, and artist, gained national attention for her courageous act of civil disobedience in removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House grounds in 2015. Her bold actions have sparked conversations about racism and symbolized resistance against oppression.

Phillip Agnew (@philofdreams): Phillip Agnew, co-founder of the Dream Defenders, is committed to advocating for justice and equality in Florida. Through organizing and mobilizing communities against racial injustice, Agnew has been instrumental in amplifying the voices of marginalized groups and fighting for systemic change.

Samaria Rice: Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, has become a powerful advocate for police accountability and justice following the tragic death of her son in 2014. Her relentless efforts to seek justice for Tamir have brought attention to police violence and inspired solidarity among activists fighting against systemic racism.

Marsha P. Johnson (@marshapjohnson): Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender activist, played a vital role in the early LGBTQ+ rights movement. While not directly associated with the current Black Lives Matter movement, Johnson's legacy as an intersectional activist continues to inspire those fighting for justice and equality across marginalized communities.


As we celebrate World Day of Social Justice and Black History Month, let's honor the invaluable contributions of these Black activists who are leading the charge for social justice. Their resilience, courage, and dedication to creating a more equitable world serve as a testament to the power of activism and the importance of amplifying marginalized voices. Despite the passage of time, with a full presidential term gone by since the tragic death of George Floyd and the ensuing social justice movements, it's clear that there is still much work to be done. Let us continue to stand in solidarity and fight for justice, equality, and liberation for all.


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