If anything has been made clear by what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri, it is that we as a nation are still struggling with race… Yes, even with a black president.

We need to talk about #Ferguson, because we need to make sure that the unarmed killing of a black youth doesn’t happen again. We need to talk about #Ferguson because we need to ensure that innocent citizens are not tear gassed and shot at with rubber bullets when they choose to exercise their right to protest their government. We need to talk about race. We need to talk about policing. We need to talk about the prison industrial complex. We need to talk about the war on drugs. We need to talk about it.

Unfortunately, it seems we still have some pretty major problems in starting these important conversation… especially where they concern race.

Thankfully, there is Twitter.

If it were not for Twitter, or I should say Black Twitter, the major networks might just be presenting this drama as if it were just another unfortunate death of a black youth as a result of “poor choices”. In other words, “move along… nothing to see here.”

But there is a LOT to see here, and thankfully, it’s been on full display on Twitter. In fact, there is a direct correlation between the uptick in the #Ferguson hashtag occurred after white journalists there to cover the scene were arrested.

You can criticize Twitter all you want, (and rightfully so where Kim Kardashian and Justin Beeber are concerned…). Nonetheless, it is hard to say that #Ferguson would be getting the type of attention it has if it were not for the folks tweeting the disconnect between what they are seeing on the ground in conjunction in the media.

Whether or not you are talking about Ferguson has a lot to do with your race and social status

I used to coach a high school debate team. One of the most powerful lessons I learned was the concept of “Silence equals Consent”. As a debater, if you are attacked by your opponent, and you do not address these attacks, no matter how irrelevant or illogical the point, it is counted against you by the judges. Each point successfully argued constitutes a point gained. Whether you like it or not, NOT DISCUSSING Ferguson, doesn’t make it go away; it reinforces the likelihood that it will happen again.

Unfortunately, it’s not just white people that aren’t talking about #Ferguson

… And where you go for information

Groundhog Day

History just keeps repeating itself. Black Twitter has been a wonderful place to highlight how “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

We Need to Talk about Policing

Is this Ferguson or the Gaza strip? Turns out, tear gas is made by the same company.

Speaking Truth to Power

Let’s get our youth educated on using social media as a tool for positive social change. Let’s arm our youth with cell phones with cameras. Let’s teach them how to use social media, apps and blogs to promote an end to racial injustice. Twitter, Instagram and Vine are already having an impact by shining the light on what is going on in #Ferguson.

And, you’re telling us to be patient?

Challenging the Stereotype of Blacks as Aggressors

Let’s use these platforms to challenge the image of blacks as aggressors. Let’s challenge the idea of “black on black” violence. Of blacks as thugs. We are champions, heroes, volunteers and victims… And we have a lot to say.

As it turns out, we have a lot to say.

If you are not already. Get on Twitter. Educate yourself about what’s going on. Add your voice and listen to what people have to say.

These are the hashtags to follow: #Ferguson#IfTheyGunnedMeDown#DontShoot,#NMOS14#IGotTheTalk#BlackLifeMatters

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About alimcollins

Ali Collins is an educator, community organizer and mom. She lives with her husband and twin girls in San Francisco, CA.

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