The Origin of the Black Lives Matter Movement

We might think that the Black Lives Matter movement started in 2020 with George Floyd’s death, but this movement has been happening since 2013. Three black women, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, created this black-centered political will and movement back in July 2013. It started with the social media hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman being blamed for shooting Trayvon Martin in 2012. This movement went international after the deaths of Michael Brown in the state of Missouri and Eric Garner in the state of New York. 

Black Lives Matter Logo

The mission of Black Lives Matter is to seek and draw attention to the different ways in which black people are treated unfairly and to the racism, discrimination, and inequality in their everyday lives. Most of the movements’ protests are about incidents of police brutality and racially motivated violence. In the summer of 2015, the Black Lives Matter activists became involved in the 2016 United States presidential election. Most of their protesting has been done peacefully, through demonstrations on the streets with big signs saying, “Black Lives Matter”, “no justice no peace”, “say their names”, and more. An estimated 15 million to 26 million people took part in a protest back in 2020, making it one of the largest movements in the history of the USA.

By Joshua Grant

In 2014, the American dialect society chose #BlackLivesMatter as their word of the year, and yes, the magazine picked this hashtag as one of the twelve hashtags that changed the world that year! From July 2013 to May 2018, it has been tweeted over 30 million times, and on average 17,002 times per day. In comparison, in June 2020, #BlackLivesMatterwas tweeted over 47.8 million times and posted an average of 500,000 times a day. Other tweets using the hashtag #BlueLivesMatter, #WhiteLivesMatter, and #AllLivesMatter have also been used. 

Recently, in 2020, this movement rose due to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as well as the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Both Breonna and Ahmaud’s cases were kept in the dark but with the death of George Floyd, they reached the public eye. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were both killed by white police officers. Not only Breonna’s and Ahmaud’s cases have been hiding in the dark, but the death of Elijah McClain was also acknowledged in the 2020 protest even though his murder was back in 2019 due to police brutality. 

Many artists have created works of art in memory of all black people who have been killed just for their skin color, posting their masterpieces under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. 

We need to make sure that this hashtag continues being used in social media, is kept alive and not only comes back to life every time a tragedy happens. We need to understand that the unfair situation black people are experiencing is not only recent, but has been going on for decades. We need to keep protesting. We need to keep raising our voices because this needs to stop once and for all.

Written by: Beatriz Mindreau

Sources:

https://library.law.howard.edu/civilrightshistory/BLM#:~:text=Black%20Lives%20Matter%20began%20with,Eric%20Garner%20in%20New%20York.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Black-Lives-Matter

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lives_Matter#:~:text=The%20movement%20began%20in%20July,months%20earlier%20in%20February%202012

Featured Image: https://fourcommunications.com/the-black-lives-matter-protests-a-photo-journal/

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