Black Students Organize on Instagram to Call Out Racism

Jun 15, 2020
4:10 PM

From @blackatbrearley’s Instagram page

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Protests in response to police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have led to reckonings about racism not only in policing, but also in media, in sports, and now in education. 

BIPOC student and alumni organizations are participating in Black Lives Matter protests, and taking the opportunity to speak out for racial justice in their own schools.

Even while the coronavirus pandemic has pushed them off campus, students at high schools and universities across the country are finding creative ways to call out racism within their communities. 

From their homes, they’ve started Instagram accounts in recent days with names such as “Black at Bowdoin” and “Black Amherst Speaks,” where Black students and alumni are sharing their experiences of racism at school, often anonymously. The accounts have quickly gotten from hundreds to thousands of followers and many submissions.


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Students and alumni have created dozens of similar Instagram accounts in the past few days—many from elite schools in the Northeast that have prided themselves on their progressive values and appreciation for diversity. For the students sending in their experiences to these accounts, that has clearly not gone far enough.

“For too long we have tired ourselves within the dual role of not only being a black student at BC High, but an educator for those who are complacent in their ideals of ignorance, which is not limited to students, administration and faculty,” students who created the Black @ BC (Boston College) High Instagram page wrote in their first post on Saturday.

Like the protests that are now in their third week across the country, these accounts aren’t merely reactions to what is happening right now, but to a legacy of racism within institutions.

Many students are also rallying to decrease police presence at their schools. A petition begun by student body president Jael Kerandi at the University of Minnesota successfully got the university to agree to stop contracting with the Minnesota Police Department for large events late last month

Students are also leading efforts to decrease police presence at Hunter College in New York City, as well as George Washington University and others.

These student- and alumni-led efforts are continuing to grow even as in-person protests diminish in size, and they are taking on different forms.


Ana Lucía Murillo is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. and the 2020 summer correspondent for Latino Rebels. She tweets from @analuciamur