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'Our Activism Has to Have Legs': Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Monique Judge and Chloë Cheyenne Say That Movement Building Must Go Beyond Social Media

The 2020 uprisings have proven that “the revolution” has gone far beyond being televised.

This moment of racial reckoning has taken the world by storm—the “revolution” is broadcasted on television, in the streets, on our phones and online.

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No doubt social media has impacted movement work. Activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham reminds us that while the advent of social media might be new, the movement work began with the ancestors.

“We are in the latest chapter of a long, protracted, generational freedom struggle in this country, and across the globe, that has been led by people of color, Black people in particular,” Packnett Cunningham said. “We are always creative and innovative with whatever tools we have at our disposal.”

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While social media offers speed and democratization, social networking sites aren’t built by people who face systemic oppression. Chloë Cheyenne, founder and CEO of Communityx, says that the myriad social media platforms are helpful tools, but there exists intrinsic limitations of using social media for social justice.

“All of the major social media networks are founded by white very privileged men who have no idea of what activism really is,” says Cheyenne.

As we are seeing activism online complement activism in the streets, The Root’s News Editor Monique Judge, a vocal figure on social media, is often asked to use her platform to further someone else’s cause. But making the decision to retweet isn’t always so simple.

“There’s a certain amount of pressure there to feel useful and helpful to people.”

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See the entire conversation, moderated by The Root’s social media editor, Corey Townsend, above.

Afro-Cuban woman that was born and branded in New York. When León isn't actually creating cool videos, she's thinking of cool videos that she can create.

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