Black Lives Matter – An Overview
Racism was and is still one of the major challenges in the path of progress. Even though we live in the 21st century, there are still people out there who discriminate people on the basis of their color. There was a time in the history when the people of lower castes were treated as untouchables. Though we claim to have had a paradigm shift in the world, racism still prevails in the country. In countries like U.S and Australia, racial discrimination is still practiced. Black people are denied their basic rights just because of their color.
Black Lives Matter is an international movement started by the African-American community to protest against the discrimination and violence faced by the black people. Their main aim is to the combat against the racial inequality in the judiciary system of the US and also against police brutality and racial profiling.
This movement is a global network to help the black people to raise their voice against this discrimination. They focus on the well-being of Black queer and trans folks, folks with records, disabled folks, women and all other Black life. They are, in fact, trying to create a world where the Black people will no longer be subjected to any kind of prejudice and cruelty.
The Origin of Black Lives Matter
The Black Lives Matter movement started in the year 2013, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of an African-American teen Trayvon Martin. It started initially with the use of a hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, on the social media. This activist movement further gained popularity for their street demonstrations conducted in the year 2014, after the death of two African-Americans – Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. A day after Michael Brown was shot dead by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, huge riots, and protests were unleashed in Ferguson, which is also known as the Ferguson unrest. Since the unrest in Ferguson, the participants of this movement demonstrated the numerous deaths of the African-Americans, which, had happened while they were in the police custody. After the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, #BlueLivesMatter was created by the supporters of the police as a protest against the Black Lives Matter Movement.
They claimed to have got their inspiration from the various other movements like the Civil Rights Movement, the Feminist Movement of the 1980s, Black Power Movement, LGBTQ social movements and Occupy Wall Street. Though the protests in Ferguson led to the development of many other movements, the Black Lives Matter was the only group which got nationally recognized as the symbol of an emerging movement The activists of this movement were also involved in the 2016 U.S presidential elections.
The Guiding Principles of Black Lives Matter
For all the people involved in this movement, the thirteen guiding principles have to be followed mandatorily.
- Restorative Justice
- Queer Affirming
- Unapologetically Black
- Collective Value
- Loving Engagement
- Transgender Affirming
- Black Villages
- Black Women
- Black Families
Some of the Notable Events and Demonstrations by Black Lives Matter
- In the year 2014, they organized a “Freedom Ride” during the Labor Day Weekend which involved more than 500 African-Americans to support the work done on the ground by the local organizations
- In 2014 December, around 3000 people gathered at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota to protest against the killings of unarmed Black men by the police.
- “Say Her Name” was the protest started by the activists of this movement in the year 2015 against the killings of Black women and girls by the police.
- On October 2015, a number of activists were arrested for participating in the protest, “Rise Up October” against the cruelty of the police.
- A candlelight vigil was held in Baton Rouge with the chants of “We love Baton Rouge” on July 2016, as a protest against the killing of a 37-year-old black man, Alton Sterling by the police officers.
- An art exhibition was organized in the year 2017 by the Black Lives Matter with the theme of racial equality and justice.
Also read: Essay on Human Rights
Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based, member-led organization who works vigorously for the freedom and justice for not only the Black people but all for the minority groups. They also give equal opportunities for the transgender groups. This movement strives hard to create a world, where the Black people will no longer be victims of racial discrimination.