Social media shines light on a dark issue

Westerville protest expresses passion towards movement homemade signs.- Courtesy of

Brittany Abston, Reporter

It’s no secret how much the Black Lives Matter movement has skyrocketed over the course of the six month quarantine. More specifically, it’s caught the attention of those on social media websites like Twitter and Instagram.

   Social media has had an impact on organizing huge protests, creating activism art and advertising music. Many people see social media is playing a huge part in creating an open space for people to talk about all things BLM. 

   Ciara Olive, a senior at North, has been heavily involved in different protests and social media involvement since the BLM movement started. 

 “Planning protests is easier than ever and now there is video proof of everything that has occurred,” Olive said.

   Olive is one of many who believe social media has given the BLM movement the social media coverage it has never received. Olive believes that there’s really no way to hide from the issue. 

   “No one can argue or try to cover events up because there’s evidence many people have seen,” Olive said.

   She indicates that this evidence that many people have seen only makes the issue bigger and more real. Is there an invisible link between the BLM movement and social media? Or is it more apparent than people think? 

   The BLM movement has made its way across the world one city at a time. Many would say that change starts within one’s own community. Due to the pandemic and quarantine, being at home seems to be the only option. 

   Kaia Calhoun, a junior at North High School,  Calhoun herself is from Westerville and has experienced first hand how her town has reacted to the movement. She has seen the support for the movement in her neighborhood, school, and even workplaces. 

 “Westerville has tried to make it clear that we as people in every shade are united. That’s really all they can do without compromising the beliefs of others, so Westerville has definitely reacted in a very respectful manner,” Calhoun said. 

     Maya Chaffin, a junior at North High School, disagrees with Calhoun’s opinion on how Westerville has been involved in the movement. 

   “I think Westerville has reacted too calmly to the BLM matter movement. I feel as if we are doing better than before at spreading awareness about this issue by starting the One Westerville program, African American studies class, and the various protests around uptown Westerville, but many people are ignoring the fact that racism is present in this city,” Chaffin said. Chaffin and other Westerville residents want more action taking place in their hometown.

    “It is very upsetting that people are caught up in their ‘Westerville Bubble’ and think that the Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t involve them so they stay silent while their fellow Westerville citizens struggle with racism on a day to day basis,” Chaffin said.  

    Many Westerville citizens wonder what more involvement would look like. Chaffin and many others have insight on this involvement. 

  “I think Westerville should continue to emphasize the One Westerville concept and educate students more about black history to prevent ignorance.” Chaffin said. 

   Some would say that there’s a correlation between the spike in BLM social media coverage and being at home due to the pandemic, others would argue that there is not. 

  “I think there is a correlation between media coverage and quarantine since a lot of people need something to focus on but that’s perfect because there is extra time for everyone to educate themselves,” Olive said. Calhoun seems to disagree with Olive about the correlation. 

      ”Not exactly. A lot of news would still be related to the protests and those pictures and videos would still make its way through social media apps. I think something like #blackouttuesday wouldn’t have been a thing because it was a way for a lot of people at home to show support. I feel like the BLM movement is bigger than Covid-19 and people were willing to fight through social media with or without it.” Calhoun said.  

  Chaffin does agree with Calhoun’s opinion on social media involvement outside of quarantine.

   “If we weren’t stuck at home I feel like people would still post their opinions on politics when George Floyd was murdered, as well as Ahmed Ahmaud Abery just because it’s something that everyone uses on a day to day basis to express their feelings.” Chaffin said.