Update on June 4: The plugin is now in the repository.
In light of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, one WordPress developer, Phil Johnston, took it upon himself to make speaking out against racial injustice as easy as possible for WordPress site owners. Johnston created a plugin called The Show Must Be Paused, that will replace your front page with this image:
“When I saw the video of George Floyd, it really shook me. I had been aware of of other similar terrible situations that have been happening recently, like Ahmaud Arbery, and just feeling really heartbroken and frustrated about it. Through hearing all of these stories I can feel my awareness growing about how it must feel to be racially targeted. That’s not something I have ever experienced in my life, but watching George Floyd die it just felt like that could have been me, or somebody I love, and it just hit me hard,” Johnston said. “And realizing that, for some, there’s a fear-for-safety involved in just going out for a jog, purely because of your skin color and nothing else, and that just sucks so much. I am also feeling like I don’t want this to pass me by like these stories have so many times before. This time it really feels different, like this is a real cultural shift moment.”
Johnston took inspiration from #TheShowMustBePaused movement, which was created by two executives from Atlantic Records as a way to step back and look at how the music industry can make a real, lasting change moving forward.
“I saw this specific messaging as part of the blackout on the Django Rest Framework website on Monday while doing some research, and it immediately made me want to do the same on my websites. As a WordPress developer, making it into a plugin was the easiest way, and I wanted to release it so that others could use it as well. For me it was a small step I could take to show respect and solidarity with George Floyd,” Johnston said.
These aren’t meant to be quick fixes, instead, they are meant to push everyone to take a look at the history behind these deaths and the true injustice that very much still exists today. It’s a way of showing your customers and readers that you are there.
“I think that stopping and taking a moment to consider how the people in pain are feeling through all of this is really important,” Johnston said. “I think it’s important for us, as humans, to stop and consider their situation seriously and with an open mind.”