The Black Lives Matter movement took the world by storm in recent months and has resulted in world-wide protests under its banner. But what does Black Lives Matter stand for? Black Lives Matter stands for what its name suggests; that the lives of black people are just as important and precious as those of white people and anyone else who isn’t subject to the same level of oppression.
BLM is a fight against racial inequality and police brutality faced by the dark-skinned population, especially in the United States. The BLM movement has gained support and online traction over the years, with a peak reached in 2020.
Black Lives Matter: The Origins
The racial injustices suffered by the African American community dates back to the era of black slavery, which served as the foundation for American wealth.
The BLM movement originated in 2013, with the term being coined by activist Alicia Garza, following the murder of Trayvon Martin, a black teen, at the hands of a police officer. The incident highlighted an ongoing theme of systemic oppression of the black community because of racism.
The BLM movement has been gradually growing in influence and support since its founding. In 2020, the movement reached an all-time high after the police killing of George Floyd.
Black Lives Matter: The Present
The murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black American living in Minneapolis, by a white police officer named Derek Chauvin on May 25 this year, served as the spark for the nationwide outrage that highlighted the movement. The event was followed by riots and protests across the US in solidarity with all black victims of police brutality. The murder of George Floyd became the face of the BLM movement, and the murder itself has garnered global attention.
George Floyd’s death was captured on a video that made rounds on social media, triggering severe reactions from the citizens. For eight-minutes and 46 seconds, Derek Chauvin suffocated Floyd. He kept pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck, which ultimately resulted in Floyd’s death.
The incident led people from all backgrounds to raise voices against police brutality. Athletes, celebrities, and people of influence displayed their support for the BLM movement and paid tribute to George Floyd by taking a knee in complete silence for the same exact amount of time.
Black Lives Matter: The Future
The riots and protests under the BLM movement call for a change in the current system. It calls for a change in a social system where black people fear the justice system instead of being protected by it; a system where 1 in every 1000 black men die at the hands of the police; a system where 1 in 2 black women is connected to someone in prison. The BLM movement called for defunding the police and new policies that do not put people of color at a disadvantage in society.
While the movement has received its own share of hate and rejection from different groups, the main purpose of the BLM movement has been successful. It has triggered a global conversation on the matter, with issues of racial prejudice and inequality being formally addressed instead of being ignored.
With the BLM movement dominating the mainstream media, it has garnered worldwide support and has prompted protests in countries outside of the states, including the UK, New Zealand, and Canada.
We can expect the future to be more open to discussions of racial inequality and less tolerant of racism. There are now platforms and organizations working for the BLM’s cause.