George Floyd

The #BlackoutTuesday and #TheShowMustBePaused hashtags have flooded the internet today. Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas, senior directors of marketing at Atlantic Records, began The Show Must Be Paused movement. The effort calls for disruption to the workweek and to hold the industry at large accountable for the benefits it receives from the “efforts, struggles, and successes” of black people.

“It is a day to take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community,” according to The Show Must Be Paused website.

WordPress community member and developer Phil Johnston wanted to show support for the movement in any way that he could. “After seeing the video of George Floyd, I was really shaken,” he said. “I saw the Django REST API help site had blacked-out their site with a message of solidarity, and I thought that might make a good plugin if others wanted to quickly do something similar.”

Johnston put together a quick plugin named The Show Must Be Paused. It is currently available on GitHub and awaiting approval for the official WordPress plugin directory.

The project is a simple blackout plugin that replaces the front end of the user’s website with a message of solidarity (the same opening message of this post). For users who want to use the plugin on their site, they can grab the ZIP file from the GitHub repository and upload it. We will update this story with a link to the plugin directory page once it is available.

While posting a message of solidarity with those who have lost their lives, those who are still living under 400 years of oppression, and those who are continuing to fight for justice is a good first step, it is merely a step. The next question we must allow the oppressed to answer is what we as a society, as human beings, can do next. What steps can the WordPress community take?

“I wish I had the answer to that question, but I’m not sure I know for sure, or that I’m qualified to say,” Johnston said. “All I know right now is that this situation really moved me personally, and I think it is important to be aware of and to really listen to the people in pain right now.”