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11.11.7 Collective Value

Black Lives Matter poster
Davidson, Caryn
Poster
Caryn Davidson

Davidson, Caryn. Collective Value, Black Lives Matter poster, ccourtesy, Caryn Davidson. @caryn_arts

#BlackLivesMatter started trending on social media in July 2013 when a Florida man, George Zimmerman, was acquitted in the shooting death of an unarmed 17-year-old African American named Trayvon Martin. This story quickly became international news, and it spread through social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. The goal of the initial social media campaign was to point out how violence and the application of laws are connected to a larger national narrative of rising anger over inequality. According to the three founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement (which has since become an organizing platform for intersectional civil rights) — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi — the goal is to have a decentralized space to address inequities and to mount campaigns for justice. This image was produced by an artist named Caryn Davidson, who explained that her art is "inspired by histories and current realities of social injustice — and the responding activism and organizing that envisions and enacts a just world. I created [it] in honor of the indigenous and human rights activists and visionaries at​ the forefront of these struggles." Based on Davidson's quote and this image, what groups of people does this kind of movement seek to unite? What similarities and differences do you see between recent civil rights organizations and types of activism and those from 50 years ago?
#BlackLivesMatter started trending on social media in July 2013 when George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of an unarmed 17-year-old African American named Trayvon Martin. This story quickly became international news, and it spread through social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. The goal of the initial social media campaign was to point out how violence and the application of laws are connected to a larger national narrative of rising anger over inequality. According to the three founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement (which has since become an organizing platform for intersectional civil rights) — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi — the goal is to have a decentralized space to address inequities and to mount campaigns for justice.   This image was produced by an artist named Caryn Davidson, who explained that her art is “inspired by histories and current realities of social injustice — and the responding activism and organizing that envisions and enacts a just world. I created [it] in honor of the indigenous and human rights activists and visionaries at​ the forefront of these struggles.” Ask your students to identify the groups of people the artist seeks to unify in this poster. You may want to emphasize the explicitly intersectional approach that this social justice movement embraces. This is an opportunity to highlight continuity and changes in social justice movements from the 1950s – ’70s and today’s social justice activism. Moreover, ask your students to identify similarities and differences between recent civil rights organizations and types of activism and those from 50 years ago. This discussion could inspire a broader comparative project about continuity and change in movements for equality over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  

Collective Value
We value all Black lives, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location.