No longer just an app for food pictures and selfies, Instagram (IG) has grown into a powerful social media platform for activism. This summer, “Black Lives Matter” chants filled both our streets and our IG feeds, bringing recognition to Black activists and organizers, business owners, artists, and educators. However, media coverage has shifted, whether due to the approaching election season or as social media accounts “return to normal.” Even more concerning is that those same BLM accounts that drew mass audiences just a few months ago are now victims of “shadowbanning,” i.e. censorship due to Instagram’s algorithmic bias. It is irresponsible to only follow the Black Lives Matter movement when it is “trending,” and we must be cognizant that posting a single black square is not an absolution of our complicity in this time of racial reckoning. Let’s carry the momentum forward and practice anti-racism in our daily lives.
For this month’s resource roundup, here are 9 Black activism accounts for you to follow on Instagram and learn from so that we can be more conscientious allies and co-conspirators in this fight for social equity.
Movement for Black Lives // @mvmnt4blklives
Movement for Black Lives is a coalition of organizations and individuals, including the Black Lives Matter Network and the National Conference of Black Lawyers. According to a Politico article, the movement is intentionally decentralized, i.e. without a singular leader, in order to “wage battles on multiple fronts” and to avoid getting targeted or exploited via “one charismatic leader.” However, the coalition is highly coordinated and politically influential, often meeting with lawmakers to propose both local and national legislation and launch campaigns. Follow them “to learn, organize, and take action” and to join in on webinars and live-streamed events with guests like the esteemed Angela Y. Davis. You can also learn more at the official website: m4bl.org.
Tarana J. Burke // @taranajaneen
Founder of the #MeToo movement and Senior Director at Girls for Gender Equity, Tarana J. Burke seeks to end sexual violence, especially against Black women and girls. Burke founded the viral movement in 2006 to show how pervasive sexual abuse is in our society and helped millions of women find a community of survivors. She was named the 2017 TIME Person of the Year and 2019 Trailblazer Award winner. Follow her to be inspired and learn how we can invest in Black girl freedom.
Rachel Cargle // @rachel.cargle
If you don’t follow her already, Rachel Cargle is an author, academic, and founder of The Loveland Foundation. We featured Cargle’s writing in our August Resource Roundup, but, thanks to her strength and brilliance, her Instagram also serves as a classroom. According to The New York Times, she went from 355,000 followers to 1.7 million followers this past June. Her Saturday School Lessons dissect white privilege and offer valuable insight into microaggressions, tone policing, racial gaslighting, and how to truly center Black voices. Sign up for her donation-based monthly learning platform, The Great Unlearn, as well.
Danielle Coke // @ohhappydani
Danielle Coke is an artist who creates powerful illustrations and graphics that help break down complex anti-racist topics in an accessible manner. In an Insider interview, Coke said, “I try to approach everything I make with a certain degree of compassion. It’s not lost on me that I use bright colors and I try to keep things light artistically, because I want people to feel a sense of comfort when they come in contact with the work.” However, Coke also stresses in her posts that we need to turn awareness into action. If you’re a more visual learner, this is a great place to start.
Ibram X. Kendi // @ibramxk
Author of the prolific international bestseller “How To Be An Antiracist,” Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is also a scholar and historian of race and discriminatory policy. He was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2020 and the director of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research. Currently posting very necessary political commentary on his Instagram, Kendi is worth following ASAP.
Desiree Adaway // @desireeadaway
Formerly the Senior Director of Mobilization for Habitat for Humanity, Desiree Adaway is a consultant, coach, and speaker who teaches anti-racism workshops. According to The Adaway Group’s website, Adaway “holds a vision for people’s lives, workplaces and communities until they can hold it for themselves.” On IG, she writes informative captions about Black history and systematic misogynoir, and shares powerful quotes from other Black leaders.
Ev’Yan Whitney // @evyan.whitney
Sexuality doula and sex educator Ev’Yan Whitney is a joy to follow in general, but it’s important to recognize that her work “is trauma-informed, BIQTPOC-centered, and has a foundation in anti-capitalist, anti-racist, intersectional, radical Womanist principles.” Whitney is also the creator of the #sensualselfiechallenge, and founder and host of The Sexually Liberated Woman podcast. She has spoken out against anti-Black racism in the sex positivity sphere in the past, and often reminds her followers that sexuality is also something that needs to be decolonized.
Haile Thomas is a wellness and compassion activist, certified health coach, and author of vegan cookbook “Living Lively.” She recently founded HAPPY, a nonprofit that seeks to empower youth and “address the need for free/affordable plant-based nutrition and wellness education in underserved/at-risk communities.” At just 19 years old, Thomas is fighting to change the narrative of racism in the food system.
Check Your Privilege (Myisha T. Hill) // @ckyourprivilege
Founder Myisha T. Hill is a mental health activist who seeks to get us to check ourselves and “deepen [our] awareness of how [our] actions affect the mental health of Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color.” The Check Your Privilege account often talks about the physical and mental toll of the “dual pandemic,” racism and COVID-19, on BIPOC , and how co-conspirators need to “lean into the discomfort” to fight against these structural issues. Head to their website as well for concrete steps to take against anti-Black racism, and make sure to (virtually) join CYP Con 2020 from Nov. 11 to 13 for more actionable strategies.
Whatever stage you’re at on your journey towards becoming anti-racist, it’s crucial that we all continue learning, supporting, and fighting alongside the Black community. And remember to engage with these content creators — save, share, comment, and like — to “hack” the Instagram algorithm and prevent the censorship of today’s freedom fighters.
Tell us your favorite activists’ Instagrams below in the comments!
Mochi magazine’s Black Allyship @ Mochi column is an ongoing project that urges an awareness of racial injustice in the United States, particularly the oppression of Black people in America. The articles, resources and opinions we share are a call to action, an open discussion, and a place to take a stance against anti-Black racism. Read more about the column here.
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