Name: Madison Goodrich
Major: Government/African African Diaspora Studies Graduate (Spring 2020)
Programs and activities: Member, Afrikan American Affairs, Multicultural Engagement Center; Co-Founder, Onyx Honors Society; Columnist, Daily Texan
During her time at UT Austin, Madison Goodrich could often be found at the Multicultural Engagement Center, where she met with fellow student advocates to discuss issues affecting the university’s black and brown communities. One of the founding members of the Onyx Honors Society, she left her mark on campus by co-creating a space for open dialogue, leadership building and community service among African American students.
Now she is preparing for the LSAT with the goal of becoming a criminal defense/civil rights attorney—a rewarding profession that will allow her to improve lives and disrupt racial inequities in the criminal justice system.
We caught up with the Dallas, Texas native to learn more about her advocacy work with social media—and how we can all combine forces to erradicate systematic racism and inequalities.
Getting social… “I am staying active on social media, weaving that platform to communicate the issues and spread the message about supporting the Black community—whether that be donating for bail relief or fundraising for healthcare expenses for people affected by the coronavirus.”
Posting with purpose …“I feel that a lot of social media posts are performative—people posting things like black squares on social media to show that they’re doing their part. However, social media can be a big organizing tool, especially for progressive people who are sharing ideologies and ideas. Platforms like Instagram and even TikTok can be powerful tools if they are used smartly and with intention.”
The sound of silence… “White silence speaks to complacency. When people don’t speak up about these issues and turn a blind eye to what’s happening, they need to ask themselves what side of history do they want to be on? Do they want to be silent while Black lives are being killed? Ignoring it and not confronting it is a privilege we don’t have in our community. We need to all work together to keep the momentum going.”
Knowledge is power…“We can all make some progress by reading different books about Black history. Read the autobiography of Malcom X or other civil rights leaders so you can understand why people are so upset and why they’re out protesting on the streets amidst this pandemic. Once you have that knowledge base, you’re able to think for yourself and apply what you’ve learned toward the future.”
Moving the needle forward…“I hope people will take what they have learned from these protests to really learn about issues of white supremacy, the struggles people of color face and how to be a good ally. We need long-term support, long-term community involvement and a continuous push for social justice. Don’t let this become a trend that you only thought about for a while. People of color face racism every day, and it is inescapable. Practice what you preach.”
Reimagining policing…“My Black studies degree helped me think critically about different structures, and what could be applicable in today’s society. It’s hard to reimagine a whole new way of facilitating public safety. An important question to consider is, what does public safety look like, and how can we ensure safety without over policing or jailing people who shouldn’t be in jail?”
Drawing a fine line… “There is a lot of criticism about social media desensitizing people to the spread of Black death. What we saw in that video was a horrific act, and while it’s useful to have that video to wake people up, there is a fine line when it comes to desensitization. We really need to think about the media we’re consuming and creating—and really using it as a tool for people to take action.”
Enough is enough… “That video of George Floyd’s death was heartbreaking and demoralizing in many ways. My hope is for these protests to keep moving forward so I don’t have to watch another video like that.”