Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an international activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people. BLM regularly holds protests against police killings of black people and broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.
When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state. We are talking about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity.
This movement practically advocates for racial discrimination, while raising awareness of the abuse African American people are being exposed to. Equal rights and equal treatment are only true on paper. While law enforcement institutes claim all people have the same set of rights and opportunities, the ones that are meant to serve the law and protect citizens are the main issue. People in power are trying to create a non-discriminatory image for themselves, using this false inclusiveness as a shield to protect themselves from rightful accusations.
The Black Lives Matter Movement started back in 2012, with teenager Trayvon Martin’s tragic death. The teen was fatally shot by watch volunteer George Zimmerman on a visit to the convenience store to buy a drink and sweets. The teenager had been visiting his father’s fiancée in Sanford, Florida, when he had an altercation with Zimmerman. Initially Zimmerman is not charged by Sanford Police. After a public outcry, Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The Black Lives Matter movement officially starts when Zimmerman is later acquitted of murdering Martin.
Another infamous case is the one of Eric Garner. In July 2014, 43 year old Eric Garner is killed by NYPD officer after being put in a chokehold on the side of the road. A bystander films the footage of him gasping for air and saying “I can’t breathe” before turning limp. The phrase becomes a key part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protests erupt in New York after a grand jury fails to indict the officer.
Sadly, the oppression and abuse towards African American citizens continued in the following years and doesn’t seem to disappear anytime soon.
The abuse continues in the following years and doesn’t seem to stop any time soon. Unfortunately, many Black lives are still systematically and intentionally being targeted for demise.
Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where African American people face daily discrimination. It is an affirmation of Black people’s contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.