Black. Lives. Matter. It is a phrase that has been chanted at protests, plastered across your feeds, broadcasted on the news - not only a phrase, but a movement. And, one that just might be the biggest movement in American history.
What is the Black Lives Matter movement? It was founded in 2013 after the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin; a 17-year-old African American boy who was fatally shot in Florida. According to its founders, it is a global organization “whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes” (blacklivesmatter.com). They strive to lift black voices and experiences and create room for black imagination and innovation (blacklivesmatter.com). Overarchingly, their goal is to cultivate a safe, inclusive, respectful society that not only accepts but celebrates black lives.
After the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25th 2020, this movement boomed. Something awoke in many Americans, that we just can’t stand for this any longer (nor should we have ever). While protests began on May 26th, according to the New York Times, they peaked on June 6th, where people gathered to show their support in more than 550 places in the U.S (Buchanan, 2020). On June 1st, Mayor Bowser announced a city-wide curfew in Washington D.C. from 7pm-6am on Monday and Tuesday evenings. The city was being set aflame from trash cans to cop cars. Social media sites like Instagram even came to a standstill on June 2nd for #blackouttuesday in honor of BLM. At an average of 140 protests per day, America has continued to fight the fight, although BLM may not be trending in the media anymore.
And this is not only in America. The murder of George Floyd spurred a global uproar, spurring thousands in Belgium, the UK, France, and beyond to join in protest of these villanous acts. While there is hatred and cruelty, people across the world are showing an outpouring of love and support, and coming together to fight for human decency and basic human rights.
However, these tragic acts have also ignited looting, destroying both chain and small owned businesses. The act of looting in itself is extremely controversial, with some disagreeing with fighting violence with more violence, and others believing this violence is necessary as their voices and message aren’t being heard otherwise.
Overall, there have been a lot of feelings and a lot of different actions taken in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. For those who aren’t protesting, there are resources to educate ourselves - to read, watch, and listen to black stories and experiences. It is imperative to not lose the momentum we have gained, and to continue on for a better tomorrow.