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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

After the brutal killing of George Floyd, a call to action spread across America. Black Lives Matter. Police brutality against Black Americans must stop. In solidarity, Instagram users posted black squares to their timelines. Many of my mutual followers and I shared black squares believing that was the way to help enact change. My sixteen-year-old self felt so accomplished in that action.

Accompanied by this blank post, I felt a call to action to further my understanding of police brutality and the BLM movement. I saw a post about removing black squares to amplify Black voices that made me rethink some of what I was doing. Amid the pandemic, social media was more vital than ever in advocating for black lives. Flooding feeds with black squares and reposting aesthetic infographics created harmful censorship. This whirl of social chatter caused the message to be lost. George Floyd was not the first victim of police brutality, nor was he the last.

This period of social media made me think that “not posting says something” about every social issue. I believe I had good intentions in “educating” my followers by sharing information, but I also now realize that many infographics oversimplify complex systemic problems. When I would repost, no one knew my intentions. Further, did I need others to see that I cared? How did it become about me?

Despite my criticism of performative activism at this time, I still believe that social media can do good. Like-minded people can connect through Instagram or other social media platforms and create real change. Given all the forms of activism I have seen, I believe our generation does care, we want to fight for equality.

The “trend” of performative activism is over, but people still share their passions through social media. For some people I follow, activism is a huge part of their life, and they chose to share it. Instagram, as well as other forms of social media, has become ingrained into the news cycle. Like any news or social media platform, you ought to look at multiple sources before accepting anything you read as fact. I believe that social media can be a tool for connection and change as long as we look out for the intentionality behind the information we consume.

Ann O'Malley

Holy Cross '26

Ann is a current sophomore at Holy Cross from Milton, Massachusetts. She enjoys spending time with friends, listening to music, and writing!