The Black Lives Matter movement is a political and social movement advocating for nonviolent civil disobedience in protest against incidents caused by police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people. BLM was formed in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. The end goal of this movement is to end white supremacy and build enough power to stop violence inflicted on black communities by the state and vigilantes.
Black liberation movements in this country created space, room, and leadership mostly for Black heterosexual, cisgender men; however, this leaves out women, queer, transpeople and others of the movement. According to New York Times, the BLM protest peaked on June 6, 2020, and on this day nearly half a million people turned out in nearly 550 places across the United States. This peak in June was due to the death of George Floyd caused by a Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Officer Dereck Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes while three officers stood by and watched until he finally died, after the protests across America the four officers were finally arrested. Since the movement has gained so much popularity some people have fired back by starting the saying, ‘All Lives Matter.’ This saying minimalizes equality for people of color and ignores the deeply rooted racial divide in the United States.
Yes, all lives have importance to them, but the reason for Black Lives Matter is because people of color are being attacked purely because of the color of their skin. If you do not believe that racism is still happening and affecting people’s lives today, take a look at what happened at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. While supporters of Trump were peacefully protesting against Joe Biden’s victory, it quickly escalated to a riot where supporters of Trump invaded and vandalized the Capitol. When looking at this incident ask yourself why is it that when supporters of Trump are distinctively breaking the law, they are not getting tear-gassed or rubber bullets shot at them by police, but instead they have the privilege to relax and take selfies while defiling a state-building. Now compare this to the Black Lives Matter protest where protesters were protesting for many unjustified deaths due to police brutality, they received no mercy from the police and were tear-gassed and shot at with rubber bullets.
There is no ignoring the fact that the police treated each of these groups differently, whether it was because of what they were protesting for or because of the color of their skin racism definitely played a role in why the police reacted the way that they did. If you are ignoring the fact that racism is still a problem in our society today you are a part of the problem. In order to end systematic racism and injustice against black lives and all people of color in our communities we must be more than ¨not racist¨, we should all be fighting actively to be anti-racist.