Black Lives Matter, also known as BLM, is an international activist movement, originating in the African American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. There have been a lot of protests, riots, and fights due to police officers not being convicted for killing black men for nothing, and due to this a social movement was formed that started out on twitter as a hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter. The movement was founded July 13, 2013. Three African Americans organizers, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi developed the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression, according to blacklivesmatter.com. It has developed to include the issues of black women and LGBT communities, undocumented black people and black people with disabilities according to weforum.org. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. The members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. To become a member you can sign up for the websites emails and support their causes. Also, helping with the movement you could donate money to the cause for the things the movement could use. Also, buying the gear and merchandise supports the movement. People have been able to support the movement by helping with the protest physically and online. Just simply using a hashtag black lives matters and bring attention to movement, afterall that’s where it began.
Many people who don’t support BLM movement don’t understand the movement. The movement faced much backlash due to the name, but to clarify Black Lives Matter is supposed to call attention to the failure of equal respect. In its context, it means, “black lives matter too, according to a Yale University philosopher, Jason Stanley. Some People use the term ALL Lives Matter to judge the Black Lives Matter Movement into being anti-white instead of pro-black, that’s not what it is.
Visiting Vox.com, I was able to learn about a new law that was signed in California to help prevent police shootings called The California Act to Save Lives. The law is on when and how police officers can use deadly force. Hopefully, it decreases the killings of unarmed people. Many people like the BLM Global Network were able to see that it is a “water-downed” law, so it wasn’t going to be as effective, but others such as the victim’s family are more appreciative of the law. Yes, it may not be the greatest solution but it’s a start to making a difference. So far, the media has focused on the campaign’s events and protests on the street, but Black Lives Matter has also been involved in campaigning to change legislation. In the past black lives were being seen as 3/5 fraction of a human during slavery and blacks are being dehumanized by society.
The movement has suffered many grievances over the years. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Batham Jeans, and many more we’re apart of the grievances. These are a few young black men that lost their lives for no reason at all. Trayvon Martin was a 17- year-old child who was fatally shot and killed by George Zimmerman back in 2012. That night of the shooting George Zimmerman informed the police that a “suspicious person” was in the neighborhood. The 911 dispatcher specifically told Zimmerman not to approach the person and not to get out of his vehicle, but that didn’t stop him. Zimmerman followed Martin. Zimmerman claimed he was defending himself during the incident. Authorities release seven emergency calls from the night of the shooting. In one of the 911 recordings, a voice screams ‘Help, help!’ in the background, followed by the sound of a gunshot, according to cnn.com. July 13, 2013, the jury found Zimmerman not guilty… So, what makes an unarmed child such a threat? The color of Martin skin is what caused this. Michael Brown was an 18-year-old young man whose life was taken by officer Darrin Wilson. Brown hands were up, so why was he fatally shot? ‘The cop gets out of his vehicle shooting,’ Mitchell said. ‘(Brown’s) body jerked as if he was hit from behind, and he turned around and he put his hands up. The cop continued to fire until he just dropped down to the ground, and his face just smacked the concrete.’ Witness Tiffany Mitchell said. Eric Garner was an unarmed black man who lost his life July 17, 2014. He died from being held in a chokehold by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. Videos were recorded during the incident and surfaced. In the video Garner is repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”, yet nothing changed, he died. Recently surfacing in the news, it’s been said that justice have been “served”, Pantaleo was fired. But is that enough, Garner lost his life in a very suffering way, he kept telling them he couldn’t breathe yet he was held still to die.
So, to say justice have been served? His family members will never get him back, yet the officer was just fired, which took 5 years after the incident… Tamir Rice was shot and killed at the age of 12, by officer Timothy Loehmann on November 22, 2014. Officers, Loehmann and one other officer responded after receiving a police dispatch call about a black male that ‘keeps pulling a gun out of his pants and pointing it at people’. A caller reported that a male was pointing ‘a pistol’ at random people at the Cudell Recreation Center. The beginning of the call and again in the middle, he says ‘it’s probably fake’ referring to the gun. Toward the end of the two-minute call, the caller states that ‘he is probably a juvenile’, yet the child was shot and killed. Sandra Bland was a black woman who was arrested during a traffic stop and was found hung in her jail cell July 13, 2015, just 3 days after her being stopped. With all these cases they were labeled dangerous and scary just due to their skin colors. Cop convictions are increasing, but cop killings roughly remain constant. Police have killed about 14,000 people in the last 13 years, but only about 20 officers have been convicted of murder or manslaughter charges- an all-time high. On average, police officers killed about 20 black people each year in Texas, and over 200 every year nationwide.
Prison time certainly punishes some police for past behavior, but the US supreme court grants police so much legal protection for violent behavior that most of the killings are legal, constitutional or unexamined. The overt form of racism depicted in the belief that black people are born with a lesser ability to whites is disappearing while the colorblind form of racism shown in the belief that it’s black people’s lack of motivation or willpower that leads to inequality. This means that American people say inequality has nothing to do with the color of one’s skin it has to do with their culture and morals that they come from. Many people are still losing their lives everyday and sometimes justice isn’t being served, nothing is being done about this so what do we do as a society? We protest and fight for what’s right. Yes, sometimes we get caught up and so angry by what’s going on and what’s in the media, but we must remember how far we had come. This isn’t anything new, this has been happening since the beginning of time. People just hate to see that but then again, they didn’t want to see it back in the past either. The movement is involving, and eventually Black lives will be as important as any other race. They are fighting for equality and justice. People can’t just continue to become hashtags and life moves on, it’s not fair, it’s not right.
Recent issues have happened relating to the movement. According to nbcnews.com, Amber Guyger’s guilty verdict and 10 years sentence for the murder of Botham Jean this year have shown that the BLM movement has had an effective impact. The United States is known for officers killing unarmed black men and getting away with it. So, this came as a surprise to some. Amber Guyger is a former Dallas police officer that entered Botham Jeans home while he sat there eating ice cream and shot and killed him. She claims she thought it was her home and thought he had invaded. Some people believe this was wrong, this man lost his life for absolutely nothing, yet she only got 10 years. Also, something that has made the news recently is in Edmond Oklahoma, Isaiah Lewis, a 17 year- old teen was shot and killed naked. Police shot him inside a home they say he broke into after a 911 call. Several witnesses say they saw the teen running stripping his clothes. It’s unclear why Lewis did this, but a Black Lives Matter leader said officers’ response shows an “inherent fear of people of color.” People are saying obviously a naked man running down the street have something mentally going on, so you don’t just shoot and kill them, you help them, it has to be ways to help. When the shots were fired neither of the officers had on body cam. Now the grieving parents want answers of why, why was their teenage son, killed, an unarmed child killed, did it have to lead to that. Officers say he hopped over a fence and broke into the home, he wrestled with an officer and they tried to use a stun gun but when that didn’t work, the other officer fired multiple shots, killing the teen. During a recording of a 911 call that prompted the police response Monday, a woman who identifies herself as Lewis’ 18-year-old girlfriend tried to take the phone from a neighbor to tell dispatchers that her “boyfriend just flipped out. I have no idea what’s going on.” according to apnews.com. She then said she has seen no reason for the cops to be involved. She just wanted to know what was going on with her boyfriend, she then went on to tell the 911 dispatcher that no drugs or alcohol was done or drunk that day, so she was completely clueless as to why he was behaving that way, she didn’t expect the incident to go too far.
These new policies are a way off for the Black Lives Matter Movement. The most important thing the Black Lives Matter Movement can do next is to educate America about racism, change public opinion and gain support. Race does matter, black lives matter and it will take a fundamental shift in the public to believe that they matter in order to change the criminal justice system and American society. Black lives have always been treated wrong. First Slavery, but it didn’t stop there, still today Blacks are being mistreated. This movement is just a continuance of the civil rights movement. The civil rights movement was an effort to end racism discrimination and gain equals rights. The civil rights movement was 1954 to 1968. Important key people was Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and many more. Due to the movement segregation was outlawed. Both movements protested to gain equality and bring awareness to racism. “It may always be necessary for us as a society, to pay careful attention to the impact of our laws, policies, and practices on racial and ethnic groups and consciously strive to ensure that biases, stereotypes, and structural arraignments do not cause unnecessary harm or suffering to any individual or any group for reasons related to race. “About 100 in 100,000 black men and boys will be killed by police, while 39 white men and boys per 100,000 are killed by police. That means black men are more than two times more likely to be killed by police than white men.” According to the University of Michigan “The less time we fight the more hashtags people will become. Black Lives Matter still have a very long way to go but it has shown progress. I wouldn’t change anything about the movement because it took all of that has happened to get to where the movement is now, and it’s still not no where near where it needs to be. It would be great if the movement could speed up a bit so that less African Americans wouldn’t have to die. More people shouldn’t have to die before people realize this is wrong. More protesting could open more eyes to the movement and change their perspectives.
In avoidance of any more deaths African Americans can have the “talk” with their children. The talk is what to during a police stop or when come in encounters with an officer. Sit up straight, if you’re driving put your hand on the wheel, if you’re a passenger, put your hand on the glove department, don’t move. If the officer asks for your registration and license, tell them what you’re reaching for before moving, move slowly, say yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am and no ma’am. Many parents are upset that they even have to have a talk with their children. As one mother put it, ‘He is going to turn into a large, scary black man. And that’s not who he is, but that’s how he will be perceived.’Unfortunately, she’s right: Study after study shows black men are frequently perceived as larger, scarier, and more prone to criminality than people of other races according to vox cite.
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