Instagram was blacked out Tuesday.
Millions of social media users skipped their selfies and pictures of their dogs. They instead posted a solid black square. Scrolling through an Instagram feed revealed one black box after another.
The posts were accompanied with several hashtags including #BlackoutTuesday, #BlackLivesMatter, and #GeorgeFloyd. Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis Police custody ignited demonstrations on city streets across the United States during the last week.
“My understanding of it is that it’s kind of to represent the black people have the floor and everybody else is listening and we’re in a state of representing silence,” said San Diegan Amber Bergey. “I think at this point I’m just acknowledging that my privilege and my bias wasn’t as understood to me until now and that’s sad.”
“I think absolutely it will help,” said her boyfriend Olumbe Falu. “I think I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response from people that are not black about just how important it is to speak up.”
“There’s more people spewing love and I totally believe that with all my heart,” said Judy Bowen after scrolling through Instagram. “It’s peaceful to me.”
“Just being vocal matters,” continued Falu. “I think it shows that we have a lot of people that are starting to realize that this is an issue that’s a lot larger than just the whole Black Lives Matter thing. It’s an issue about humanity.”
“We just need to show people who we are and not just be constantly talking,” said Bowen. “My husband has a saying that I love: ‘Your actions speak so loud. I can’t hear a word you’re saying.’”
“I’m thankful that everybody is kind of opening their eyes, but I think it starts with listening,” added Bergey. “I’m dating someone who’s black and I still have had my eyes opened in a new way.”
“We’ve had discussions openly, but it’s not something I’ve had to talk to her directly about,” said Falu while looking at Bergey. “She recognizes these things and brought it up to me. So, we have that dialogue.”
“They come from a place of understanding and we don’t,” said Bergey. “I would just hope that along with myself, that we’re willing to step forward and actually take the time to learn and not just let it be a trend.”
Several national corporations and professional sports franchises also ceased operations Tuesday in honor of Blacked Out Tuesday.