TAMPA, Fla. — Millions of people have been out in the streets marching, chanting and demanding racial equality for months. Now, Black Lives Matter Tampa is turning to the internet to get thousands more to join them.
“Think about all the people who can’t protest physically on the street,” said Artist and University of South Florida professor Jason Lazarus.
Lazarus is talking about people who are battling COVID-19, the immune-compromised, the disabled, undocumented immigrants, parents without childcare and many more.
Lazarus partnered with California artist and professor Stephanie Syjuco, and New York artist Siebren Versteeg, to create Public_Public_Address, so those who can’t be outside with the street protesters can still join the movement from their homes. Public_ Public_Address is a virtual protest platform.
“We’re here to widen the possibility of participation and visibility,” he said.
You can use your phone to record a video of yourself marching in place. For those who are wheelchair and bed-bound, you can just hold up a post and chant. You then have to send the video to the site, and they will edit the video.
The edited video will be put with thousands of others to look like a huge crowd of protesters marching.
“The public will be able to log in at any time, day or night, and see the virtual protests happening,” said Lazarus.
Black Lives Matter Tampa will be the first to use the platform starting in August. The creators want to make it clear that people being out in the street protesting are still very important.
“Our project isn’t meant to replace physical protests,” Syjuco said. “In a way, they go hand and hand and people really do need to still show up.”
If you are invested in the program and want more information, including how you can participate go to their Facebook page for more details.