(Re)Imagining Intersectional Democracy from Black Feminism to Hashtag Activism

Jackson, Sarah J.
Women's Studies in Communication

To say that Black lives matter has become both a technological and cultural phenomenon in the United States is an understatement. The hashtag and those discursively linked to it have been used more than 100 million times, and the visibility and persistence of Black lives matter activists—from highway shutdowns in America’s largest cities to the takeover of
presidential candidates’ political rallies—have led to widespread social and political debate about what has been dubbed “the new civil rights movement” (Freelon et al.; Jackson and
Foucault Welles, “#Ferguson”). Yet there seems to be considerable consternation among academics, journalists, and politicians about how to incorporate the standpoints of a new
generation of activists into our national politics. In this essay I discuss how these activists have manifested Black feminist impulses through social media and beyond, and suggest it is the responsibility of those invested in (re)imagining a more democratic process to closely consider the radically intersectional lessons of the current movement.