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If Your Friends Joined A Movement, Would You Do It Too? How Intergroup Contact Leads to Participation in the Black Lives Matter Movement
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Social movements allow individuals in society to come together to work toward change, but what influences people to participate in social movements? Previous research shows that intergroup contact was a key predictor of participation in the Freedom Summer campaign of the Civil Rights movement. In this study, the effect of intergroup contact on participation in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is assessed. Using survey data collected by the researcher on both a student sample and a general sample of the population, it is found that greater amounts of intergroup contact with African Americans predicts greater levels of participation in the BLM movement, controlling for other factors. Findings also show that contact with people who actively participate in the BLM movement leads to increased levels of participation; in contrast, contact with people who have stopped participating in the movement does not decrease one’s level of participation. Implications of the findings for our understanding of social-psychological motivators to movement participation are discussed.