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Black Lives Matter meets Animal Crossing: how protesters take their activism into video games

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August 07, 2020 at 09:00AM

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In the Covid-19 age, protestors are finding novel ways to express themselves, from BLM rallies in The Sims to Hong Kong protests in Animal Crossing

As street protests against anti-black racism erupted across the globe, Animal Crossing: New Horizons players were taking their own stand. Adelle, a software engineer from New York, decided to create a memorial on her in-game island, decorated with flowers and pixel art portraits of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other black victims of police brutality.

“I was living with immuno-compromised people, so couldn’t attend the physical protests,” explains Adelle. The virtual space she created soon turned into a protest site as other players – some wearing masks – visited Adelle’s island, shouting: “No justice, no peace”, “Justice for Breonna” and “Defund the police.” “Being there with other players you don’t know, connected by this common feeling, was really moving,” she recalls. While the game only allows eight players on an island at one time, more people were engaging with the protest and raising thousands of dollars via the live-streaming platform Twitch.

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