Had Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. lived during this era, “By any means necessary” and “I have a dream” would have circulated in Facebook memes and trending Twitter hashtags.
Though the civil rights of yesteryear is not exactly the same in 2015, recent years have shown a surge in visible misconduct by law enforcement that crosses racial lines.
As more and more images of police brutality flood cyber airwaves, the public looks for its leaders. Though those leaders have seemed fleeting, one need only click to find them.
Today, activism against police brutality is emerging online.
Wisconsin native Ademo Freeman became an activist by way of experience with law enforcement, after two drug convictions for marijuana stripped him of the ability to vote, sell real estate, or obtain a liquor license.
His first effort, The Motor Home Diaries, described as “3 guys, 1 RV, and a plan to search for freedom in America,” and his second, Liberty On Tour, focused on encouraging peaceful interactions between community members through civil rights education. It was during this tour, after being arrested for video taping a traffic stop, that Freeman bore his 2010, most successful activism movement: CopBlock, a site dedicated to “police accountability.”
Since its inception, Copblock.org has gained a following of more than a million followers on Facebook and Twitter. Freeman expanded the venture to include others as the public took notice, even including law enforcement in the venture.
CopBlock has become one of the most recognized activist movements amongst anti-cop activists, as well as law enforcement agents, who use its content to educate police on how to handle “cop-blockers.”
Recently, as news of 28-year-old Sandra Bland’s alleged Texas jailhouse suicide started a hashtag wave on social media, CopBlock exposed other suspicious deaths of women in police custody.
Though still on probation for tapping conversations with law enforcement about the beating of a student by a school officer, he continues to expose alleged police wrongdoings, and encourage peaceful protests across the nation.
Update: 2015 National “Chalk the Police State” Day Locations http://t.co/UBPsYhILnY
— Ademo Freeman (@ademo_freeman) July 18, 2015
Alicia Garza, Patrice Cullors, Opal Tometi: #Blacklivesmatter When many shed tears for the parents of Trayvon Martin, Garza, Cullers and Tometi shed complacency, and spring into action, creating the now famous hashtag and activist group, #blacklivesmatter. Hailed by Yes! magazine as one of the hashtags that changed the world, it took flight after the Ferguson death of Micheal Brown, erupting into a movement seemingly overnight, donning t-shirts, protest march banners and appearing in countless Twitter references. It has expanded since then to include chapters in various cities and became the umbrella for hashtag specifics: #blackgirlsmatter, #blackboysmatter, #blackqeersmatter and even a spin off created by critics, #alllivesmatter. With no end in sight, Garza, Cullers and Tometi have successfully used social media to evoke change.
Tom Bibyan Tom Bibiyan is a self-proclaimed ethics enthusiast. Though his profession include producing and writing, he is well-known for his activism on all issues of oppression, police brutality included.
His endeavors include the Bibiyan Family Philanthropic Foundation, which is dedicated to helping “all people lead healthy productive lives.”
Like Freeman, Bibiyan focuses much attention on educating people about their rights as citizens and human beings. His social media posts seek not to expose, but to inform.
James Lindon: Police Brutality and Misconduct Discussion Forum
Lawyer by day, activist by night, James Lindon is a patent law attorney recommended by clients for his dedication to the community.
Lindon became interested in the issue of police misconduct in 2010, and took his concerns to the internet via his LinkedIn discussion board.
What began as a simple Q & A, turn into a public forum to foster discussion and action.
Since it was first formed, the group has grown only slightly, but continues to post various news articles exposing misconduct in law enforcement agencies across the nation.
The future of community relations with law enforcement is to date uncertain.
But the emergence of online leaders is testament to the public’s commitment to bridging the disconnect, and creating an American system of true justice for all.