BLACK VOICES
10/09/2014 11:56 am ET

Patrisse Cullors Explains How Social Media Images Of Black Death Propel Social Change

Michael Brown’s killing raised serious questions about the crisis of state violence against African-Americans. With an FBI-led investigation of police bias officially in the works, more information is on the way, but current statistics paint a grim picture.

USA Today reports that between 2007 and 2012, a white police officer killed a black person nearly twice a week in the United States. In a recent HuffPost Live conversation, Patrisse Cullors, the creator of #blacklifematters, weighed in on how social media has shed light on these dark statistics.

“Social media has changed the game,” she said. “On a daily basis, every moment, black folks are being bombarded with images of our death. And after a while that does something to your psyche. It’s literally saying, ‘Black people, you might be next. You will be next.’”

With such images perpetually pervading our consciousness, social media lends legitimacy to complaints of police brutality and ultimately forces citizens to act, Cullors explained.

“There’s sort of like this instinctual act of we have to protect ourselves we have to protect each other,” she said. “It forces black folks to really deal with the reality of how oftentimes painful it is to just say out loud, ‘We might die.’ But it also forces other groups, it forces other groups of color, it forces white people to really be like, ‘Wait, black people really weren’t exaggerating.’”

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about state violence against black Americans here.

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    Missouri state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D) walks during a rally for justice for Michael Brown, and the people of Ferguson, Misso
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Missouri state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D) walks during a rally for justice for Michael Brown, and the people of Ferguson, Missouri on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House on Thursday. Brown's shooting by a white police officer sparked more than a week of protests, riots and looting in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • Protesters Deliver Over 900,000 Petitions To The White House Demanding Justice For Mike Brown
    Demonstrators delivered over 900,000 petitions to urge Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute the police officer who shot
    Sam Levine
    Demonstrators delivered over 900,000 petitions to urge Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute the police officer who shot and killed Mike Brown, an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.
  • Protesters Deliver Over 900,000 Petitions To The White House Demanding Justice For Mike Brown

    Sam Levine
  • Protesters Deliver Over 900,000 Petitions To The White House Demanding Justice For Mike Brown
    A sign is held during a rally for justice for Michael Brown, and the people of Ferguson, Missouri on Pennsylvania Avenue in f
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A sign is held during a rally for justice for Michael Brown, and the people of Ferguson, Missouri on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • Protesters Deliver Over 900,000 Petitions To The White House Demanding Justice For Mike Brown
    Missouri State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D) speaks during a rally for justice for Michael Brown, and the people of Ferguson, Miss
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Missouri State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D) speaks during a rally for justice for Michael Brown, and the people of Ferguson, Missouri on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House on Thursday. Brown's shooting by a white police officer sparked more than a week of protests, riots and looting in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • Protesters Deliver Over 900,000 Petitions To The White House Demanding Justice For Mike Brown
    Demonstrators shout slogans as they gather in front of the White House to deliver nearly 950,000 signatures August 28, 2014 i
    Alex Wong via Getty Images
    Demonstrators shout slogans as they gather in front of the White House to deliver nearly 950,000 signatures August 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. The demonstrators called on the Justice Department to fully investigate, prosecute, and fire all police officers involved in the fatal shooting of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
  • Protesters Deliver Over 900,000 Petitions To The White House Demanding Justice For Mike Brown
    Demonstrators in front of the White House on Thursday called on the Justice Department to fully investigate, prosecute, and f
    Alex Wong via Getty Images
    Demonstrators in front of the White House on Thursday called on the Justice Department to fully investigate, prosecute, and fire all police officers involved in the fatal shooting of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
  • Protesters Deliver Over 900,000 Petitions To The White House Demanding Justice For Mike Brown
     Roses and a poster are seen on top of nearly 950,000 signatures that are delivered to the White House August 28, 2014 on Thu
    Alex Wong via Getty Images
    Roses and a poster are seen on top of nearly 950,000 signatures that are delivered to the White House August 28, 2014 on Thursday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
  • Protesters Deliver Over 900,000 Petitions To The White House Demanding Justice For Mike Brown
    Boxes of signed petitions sit before a rally for justice for Michael Brown, and the people of Ferguson, Missouri., on Pennsyl
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Boxes of signed petitions sit before a rally for justice for Michael Brown, and the people of Ferguson, Missouri., on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House on Thursday. The group had boxes of signed petitions on hand that were brought as they walked in the street. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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