Black Lives Matter: More than Just A Movement
The death of George Floyd triggered an overall change in atmosphere and flared up a fire that had been kindling for decades. In the past, knowledge about the Black Lives Matter movement was limited to areas of concern such as the United States, but Floyd’s death gave it the international awareness it is supposed to have.
Imagine what if the entire encounter was not recorded on the phone and posted online? Would the movement have the same impact as it recently had? This Black Lives Matter
The Black Lives Matter movement started way back in 2013, composed of a broad range of people and organizations. It started as a social media post that was posted in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting of African American teenager Trayvon Martin. In 2014, protests occurred in response to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. BLM is a movement protesting against police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people.
Since then, protests are consistently being held against the deaths of numerous African Americans at the hand of the police – whether through police actions or while in police custody. The movement gained strength, and in just a span of two years, the national decentralized network initiated the establishment of 30 more local chapters in the country. And for a network with no formal hierarchy, this sure is an accomplishment.
The movement became more popular internationally with the death of George Floyd. In the US alone, an estimated 15 million people participated in the 2020 BLM protests. A movement that had started as a social media post using the famous “I can’t breathe” battle cry has stepped into the international scene like a global phenomenon. By 2020, the BLM movement has spread to nine countries worldwide: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The group has gained sympathy and is now participating with diverse backgrounds, all believing in the cause.
Racial bias, discrimination, and criminal justice have been around since time in memoriam, and countless movements have been done in an attempt to eliminate it. The BLM movement begs to differ – it has produced a sustained and widespread change, socially and politically. It has now transcended from being a mere movement to a message.
At its most basic point, BLM is an outcry for a shift in the paradigm supported with statistics showing that, unlike white individuals, black people are twice likely to be through police brutality while unarmed. A 2015 study affirmed this, saying that African Americans died at the hands of police officers at a rate of 7.2 per million – a huge difference from whites, who are at a rate of 2.9 per million.
The primary goal is to raise awareness which can effect change. The goal is to bring to attention a persistent racial injustice, and leaders need to realign priorities to diminish this gap. As time passes by, the message has expanded from mere police brutality to include all sorts of injustices suffered by communities of color. This includes disparities in healthcare and education, to say the least.
From a mere social media post to an international movement that keeps on growing and gaining support from people of all walks of life. An international movement that has induced change and is highly motivated to do more. But really, would it take another Floyd for us to realize what is important? How many more Floyds are needed to reawaken everyone to the discrimination they have at the back of their heads?
May the celebration of the BLM anniversary continue to propel the movement forward and finally achieve the result everyone needs. Especially in this century.