Claudia Ramirez: Behind the Hashtag: The Making of Black Lives Matter (@ UCR)

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On February 1st, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors co-founders of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, gave a lecture at the HUB that talked about their story for creating the infamous hashtag that has now been used in many protests. Garza and Cullors, along with their colleague Opal Tometi who could not make it to the lecture, identify themselves as queer women who are trying to make a change for their community. The hashtag began after Trayvon Martin’s murder in 2012 by David Zimmerman. The hashtag not only identifies with the murder of Trayvon Martin, but it also stands for the discrimination and injustice that the black community faces every day. Although there was no time to ask questions due to the shortage of time, I did look up ways that religion plays into the role of Garza and Cullors hashtag through other articles. However, most of the articles stated that religious groups would hardly involve themselves in the movement because they felt like this was no place for a church to participate in. But they did state that the fact that the Black Lives Matter hashtag pertains to ALL people is an important quality for Christian Ideologies.

Even though there is no mention of religious groups being involved in the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, Ashton T. Crawley would look at this as an example of his Black Religion. Crawley states that queered blacks are slowly being erased from memory and knowledge; due to the fact that it is seen as “demonic” and “sinful.” Perhaps the reason why there are no religious groups involved in the movement is because it was created by queer women, something that creates uneasiness in the Christian and Black Church. However, Crawley would say that by creating this movement, these women are changing the stereotype of being a queered black. He would also say that these women are using the body as a way of making a statement. A statement by creating a hashtag that demonstrates that the lives of their community matter.


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