On May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, George Floyd was killed by police. His death, like so many others in recent memory, was caught on video and circulated on social media unveiling the brutality of these actions. In the weeks since, people have protested all over the world demanding justice for George Floyd and the countless other victims who have died at the hands of the law enforcement officials.
The outpouring of support began in Minneapolis but quickly spread to cities across the country demanding that the officers involved be sentenced to prison for their actions. The widespread nature of the protests were so rapid and overwhelming that coverage on local stations and social media was overwhelmed by the vast amount of people marching, rallying and demanding justice in the city streets.
Mapping the Movement: Black Lives Matter Protest Map is our team’s attempt to document this historic moment and engage with users on a personal level to advance the conversation of race and policing in this country. This project is one part of a larger engaged research project by RomoGIS entitled Race and Policing in America which examines how people of color and entire communities are affected by over-policing, criminalization and mass incarceration. The goal of this project is to highlight the power of our communities and demonstrate the collective power we have to overcome injustice. Our team hopes to continue developing this product and create new applications in the coming months that will address key issues in our communities and provide activists with additional resources in their fight for justice.
About the Map
The interactive map shows each protest location as a single point on the map to help users see how widespread the support for the Black Lives Matter Movement has become. Mapping the Movement is one of the most comprehensive maps to date showing the nationwide outrage related to the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many of the other black men and women who have died at the hands of police and other United States Citizens.
As protests began to pop up across the nation, our team developed a systematic method for collecting location data and analyzing information across multiple platforms. We built tools that sourced data from news sources, social media posts and engaged users directly to collect information from mobile devices. We built the application as an interactive storytelling tool to help people understand why, where and how people have been protesting to pay their respects, voice their outrage and demand justice for those who have been killed.
One of the map’s key components is its ability to engage users by collecting location data about each protest. By clicking the “Add protest location” button in the left hand pop-up window, users are able to add a new location to the map and provide news articles and images for that specific protest. Once verified in our database, that protest location will be added to the map so other users can click on it and upload media content and personal stories to that location.
This user functionality not only serves as a way to verify the massive number of protests but also allows us to build community by crowd sourcing people’s stories, experiences and images to help document this historic moment. For instance, when a user clicks on a location on the map they are prompted with a pop-up window showing an image of that protest, a link to a local news source and a link to add more information. While accessing the pop-up window, if a user clicks on “Share your protest story” they have the ability to submit images, posters, poems or personal narratives for that location to our secured database. The goal of engaging users and archiving media content is to build a collective resource that captures the essence of this powerful moment. As the fight for racial justice continues, we want to support the movement by encouraging activists and organizers to utilize tools like this map to invigorate their base and tell the untold stories of Power & Solidarity in their fight for justice.