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#BlackLivesMatter – Trending Slogans And Hashtags To Fight Against Racism In Graphic Design -


Featured Image: Unsplash/@munshots

May 25, 2020, will always be remembered in American history as the date that catapulted a whole nation into a revolution. As George Floyd breathed his last words, it sparked a collective outrage of emotion: rage, shock, and a thorough disappointment in the system.

African Americans came out into the streets and protests start taking place in all major cities across the country. While the driving force behind this revolution is a burning need to see effective systematic change take place, the tools that are being used to drive that message home are social media hashtags, among others.

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And this isn’t anything new. Thanks to Millennials and Gen-Z members everywhere, the hashtags that we have seen trend the most in recent times had something or another to do with social change, including race, gender, and environment.

With #BlackLivesMatter trending everywhere now, we have also seen many other revolutionary hashtags dominating social media newsfeeds: #racialeuqlity, #icantbreathe, and #stopkillingus are among the most popular ones. Everyone taking part in these protests – in any form – are using these hashtags to associate themselves with this movement and be a part of history.

And it stands true for graphic designers as well.

As potent communication tools during times of crisis, emergencies, and political upheaval, graphic designers everywhere have sworn allegiance to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and have been sharing their work and art to support the cause.

In this piece below, we share with you some of the most confrontational, emotional, raw, and moving messages that designers and protestors have created under different hashtags.

1. No Lives Matter Until #BlackLivesMatter

The emotion behind this slogan is poignant and raw. When the system blatantly acquitted George Zimmerman after he shot dead Trayvon Martin, it first emerged as the natural cry of outrage and hurt that was echoed all around the African American community. It is a fitting response to the devaluation of Black lives at the hands of a White Supremacist system.

#BlackLivesMatter has adopted the role of a comprehensive narrative builder of Black stories in the online world. The sheer number of images, posts, tweets, and news that surface when you type in this hashtag, on various platforms, is mindboggling. It gives a glaring insight into the psyche of African American sentiment in regards to race relations in America.

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It’s such a privilege to live in a city where something like the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone exists.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Beautiful art, engaging dialogue, and an eye-opening display of what community should look and feel like. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I’m so thankful for my experience there today listening and observing and to witness two blocks of pavement transformed into an absolute masterpiece.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ And if you know what they’re looking for in terms of donations please comment below and I can drop off what I can tomorrow!! Have some sleeping bags and jackets I can certainly contribute.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ IG accounts of the artists: ⁣⁣ B: @kimishaturner⁣⁣ L: @perrypaints⁣⁣ A: @onesevennine⁣⁣ C: @thecurlynugget⁣⁣ K: @thesoufender⁣⁣ L: @drakesignanddesign ⁣⁣ I: @stattheartist⁣⁣ V: @aohamer⁣⁣ E:⁣⁣ S: @snekeism ⁣⁣ M: @moses_sun and more ⁣⁣ A: @artbreakerbt ⁣⁣ TT: @tdubcustoms⁣⁣ E: @future_crystals⁣⁣ R: @artvaultseattle Artist: @thekingfroshow⁣ ⁣ ⁣ *In any reposts please credit ALL artists above before me⁣ ⁣⁣ *To use this video in a commercial player or in broadcasts, please email – any potential proceeds will be donated

A post shared by Kyle Kotajarvi (@kylekotajarvi) on

2. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd Is The Rallying Cry

The current protests and rallies have seen #JusticeForGerogeFloyd trend time and time again on social media since May 25. The cruel and brutal manner in which he was murdered has shaken the country. It has initiated discussions, conversations, action, and law reforms. #Justiceforgeorgefloyd has also brought under the spotlight so many other countless murders that took place at the hands of a police system that promotes racism and allows excessive use of force against particular communities.

In graphic design, you’ll see a lot of emotional and action-inciting imagery and other news under this hashtag. It has also given birth to other, related hashtags that are similarly action-driven:  #defundthepolice, #policethepolice, and #sayhisname, for example.

3. #NoJusticeNoPeace: An Expression of Heartache and Anger

When it comes to hashtags that translate into the most abraded and open emotions, perhaps nothing beats the angry chat of #nojusticenopeace. While the emotion behind this cry may be untamed, the reality is that it hasn’t always been associated with angry protests. It is a shortened version of what Martin Luther King Jr. actually said in 1967 outside a California prison to support Vietnam War protestors who were taken as prisoners:

“There can be no justice without peace and there can be no peace without justice.”

So while in recent days we have seen angry protestors rioting with this chant, the truth is, it has always been used in times of peaceful protests, too. At the crux of it, it is a philosophy and a teaching. Only if the current system can take it that way.

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“Definitions anchor us in principles. If we don’t do the basic work of defining the kind of people we want to be in language that is stable and consistent, we can’t work towards stable and consistent goals.” -Ibram X. Kendi . In order to confront racism, we must clearly define it and identify how it plays out in our lives stemming from racist policies that lead to racial inequities that reinforce racist ideas. Only then can we begin to start the work to become anti-racist. . “Becoming antiracist requires every individual to choose every day to think, act, and advocate for equality, which will require changing systems and policies that may have gone unexamined for a long time.” -Ibram X. Kendi . . #antiracism #nojusticenopeace #amplifymelanatedvoices #systemicracism #gutcheck #reality #thesystemisrigged #thisisamerica #whitewashed #system #policies #ideas #dismantlethesystem

A post shared by Sylvia Braaten (@sylviabraaten) on

4. #DefundThePolice And Invest In Communities

Another misunderstood hashtag that is doing the rounds on social media is #defundthepolice. The racist politicians and media houses as well as misinformed (or not willing to be informed) public interpret this slogan as ‘abolish the police’ which could not be farthest from the truth.

Defunding the police means rerouting the insane funding police departments get to handle tasks that are better suited to other professionals (mental health professionals and community workers, for example). This rerouting will ensure that other departments such as social security, mental health, education, and housing have enough funds to take care of their matters. Defunding the police will also result in a more streamlined system and less pressure on the police as well.

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A post shared by Beacon 4 Black Lives (@beacon4blacklives) on

5. #RacismInAmerica Is A Pandemic

Americans are not only fighting a health pandemic right now, but they are also dealing with a racist pandemic. Unlike Covid-19 however, this race pandemic has been brewing for ages and has been directed at only particular communities, based on their of their skin color.

The hashtag, #racisminamerica is an eye-opener. Under it, you will imagery, stories, and news that will tell you how strong the oppression against Blacks have been and for how long. If you are under the impression that slavery was abolished in 1865, this hashtag will introduce you to stories that narrate all different kinds of chains the Black community has been bound in.

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A post shared by Almamy (@almamy__) on

The Take Away

Social media hashtags are powerful devices that help control the narrative of a story. In the narrative of racism, brutal police killings are only one angle. Using hashtags, protestors and revolutionaries make sure that all the different angles of the story are brought under the same thread and present a unified and whole picture.

With more tailored hashtags as we have featured in this piece, more unique perspectives can be brought under discussion, and more untold stories can be narrated. So design away, and keep the # going.

Author Bio:    

Evan is an Expert in Digital Marketing. He has been working in the social media space since 2008, with a focus on design services, user interface planning, branding and more. Currently, he is leading content marketing efforts at DesignMantic and has played an integral part in the success story of DesignMantic through strategic marketing campaigns. Evan is also a design pro, who has shown a predilection towards DIY design projects.

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