On Aug. 23 in Kenosha, WI 29 Black male Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police officers. A video of the scene has gone viral showcasing Blake walking into a car as the officers pull out their weapons. Social media has opened opportunities for people to speak out on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Once the video was posted and had begun gaining attraction, within hours protests began throughout the city. Blake’s shooting added more to the injustice of the Black Lives Matter movement that has been occurring over the summer since the killing of Geroge Floyd.
Twitter and Facebook have created a source for people to express their frustration with the lack of justice done in the US. With more people joining in on social media outlets, calls to action for the Black Lives Matter movement have reached people all over the world.
TikTok is a relatively new app compared to its competitors but downloaded over 7.5 million times in the US within the month of June. Viral videos include people going out to peaceful protests, as well as discouraging acts of racism against black people.
Sammy Hager lives in Meridian, ID. She’s a journalist and a civil rights activist. She has taken some of her work on her TikTok account @sammyhager2020. She has over 45k followers and continues to spread the reality of injustice done to marginalized groups in the US.
When asked how social media has affected the injustices in the US Hager said, “You can’t give people the ‘benefit of the doubt’ anymore and assume the white cop is telling the truth as a white privileged person when the videos clearly show otherwise.” Hager notes that it has become much easier to showcase systemic racism.
Hagger grew up in Covina, CA. The settings of the two states are incredibly different. She notes that she has always been aware of racism but wasn’t as blatant as it is in Idaho. Hager describes racism as, “alive, unapologetic, and vile.” She adds that even in more progressive towns like Bosie, ID you still see Nazi flags and hear the N-word regularly.
Hager started her account not really thinking anyone would notice or care. She was working on the Bernie Sanders campaign and calling out corruption in politics. Hager eventually gained the attention of Idaho Republicans and even police officers.
All forms of threats have been made on her, from blackmail to guns being pulled out to her, to even political figures threatening her. The police have even been to Hager’s home. Articles have been written throughout the state comparing her to a terrorist.
On Jul. 7 Hager shared in a TikTok video that she would never purposely harm herself, that’s she’s not depressed or would hurt anyone, “If any of those things happen to me, you know what happened to me,” referring to the fact that someone else must have been the reason for any physical harm done to her.
Hager is running for election to the Idaho House of Representatives to represent District 20B under the Democratic party. Hager isn’t running for the sake of winning, but for the message, she wants to send out to her heavily red state. She wants the politicians of Idaho to know that their positions aren’t permanent, nor are they untouchable.
Hager will proudly continue her videos, “This is the largest protest (BLM) in American history and I only see it growing thanks to these videos of protestors being unjustly injured and BIPOC being discriminated against.” Hager believes apps like TikTok are key to the revolution she sees coming.