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WHAT IS THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT?









Published by: Tanusmita Debnath


The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was founded in 2013, after the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed African American teenager, Trayvon Martin, was cleared of his murder. This Black- focused political movement is the contrivance of three women, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. The Black Lives Matter movement campaigns against violence and racial inequality towards the Black people. The author discuses about the BLM movement, its criticism and political aspects of the movement.

What is Black Lives Matter (BLM)?

[1]Black Lives Matter (BLM) was founded in 2013 in response to the Zimmerman’s acquittal. On February 26, 2012, a 17-year old unarmed African American teenager, Trayvon Martin, was walking to a family friend’s home when he was fatally shot by the neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic. Zimmerman cited that he was acting in self- defence, but the nation protested in anger. He was later charged with second-degree homicide, followed by a high-profile trial. He was later cleared of all charges that are made against him. [2]The international human rights campaign started on social media in 2013 with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. since that incident it had gone on to lead calls for Black people to be treated fairly and adequately by the authorities in the USA and around the world.


The formal organization that is born from the nationwide protests commenced with the aim of highlighting the disproportionate number of incidences in which a police officer killed a member of the black community. But it quickly won world-wide recognition, 12 months later, after the demise of Michael Brown in Missouri. The Black Lives Matter movement has grown into, the Black Lives Matter Foundation which is now identified globally. It is based in the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Black Lives Matter now describes itself as a “chapter-based countrywide organization working for the validity of black life”. The movement has developed to encompass the problems of black women and LGBT communities, undocumented black people and black people with disabilities.


Demands of the BLM movement:

The Black Lives Matter campaigns in opposition to violence and racial inequality towards Black people. [3]In the year of 2016 a coalition of numerous dozen organizations affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement and mentioned their demands. Greater than 60 groups which might be a part of the Black Lives Matter Movement teamed up to launch the agenda, which covered six demands related to police and criminal justice reform as well as 40 recommendations so as to address them. The groups also demanded protection and safety and an increase in funding for black institutions like traditionally black colleges and faculties and social formations. When BLM placed out a list of demands a couple years in the past, the whole concept went down in flames, now they got a front group to release an elegant press release. With better legal advice and better extra funding to hire writers the updated list of demands was released. Besides all the charges against the four enforcement officers in the George Floyd case and “justice for Breonna Taylor”, they demanded that marijuana be instantly decriminalized. A minority group of protesters are actually demanding that DC be declared a state. They also want things to be nicer in prison and a private police force. They demand people to get out and vote and fill out the census paperwork. [4]A leader of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters in London demanded a meeting with the Prime Minister of UK, Boris Johnson and stated that, he had to drop his preference of a political adviser to lead a brand-new commission searching into racism and racial inequality. Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated in British cities because of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. The BLM demonstrators would hold to protest until the authorities met with their demands.


A timeline of the BLM movement:

[5]The Black Lives Matter movement started in 2013, following the loss of life of Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager who was shot whilst walking to a family friend's residence, and the following acquittal of George Zimmerman, the police officer who shot him. The phrase "black lives matter" was first used in a Facebook submit by Garza after Zimmerman was cleared of all charges against him, and became the inspiration for the campaign. The movement quickly accumulated tempo, with interest and momentum spiking on every occasion a Black person was killed as an end result of an altercation with the police. [6]In 2014, Black Lives Matter protested against the deaths of numerous Black and African-American people. Each non-violent protests and riots were observed, a good deal of which was carried out beneath the banner and hashtag of “Black Lives Matter”. In response, co-founder Patrisse Cullors organised the Black Life Matters Ride, which gathered a meeting of 600 people and sparked the founding of more localised Black Lives Matter groups and the promulgation of the campaign into a network.


The year of 2015 noticed another spate of Black people being killed by the enforcement officers in the USA, which includes Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and Meagan Hockaday. Black Lives Matter protested toward these and many more. They also organised protests to spotlight the injustices and other problems confronted by Black women and Black LGBT communities. In 2016 Black Lives Matter organised many protests against police brutality directed towards the Black people. The ones whose deaths occurred due to police actions in conjunction with Deborah Danner and Alton Sterling. In 2017, Black Lives Matter placed on their first artwork exhibition timed to coincide with Black History Month in Virginia, US. It featured the work of over 30 Black artists and creators. By May 1st, 2018, a study observed that the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter were used nearly almost 30 million instances on Twitter since the first incidence in the year of 2013. In February 2019, the rapper 21 Savage was arrested and detained by the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in the US. Cullors convened a collection of 60 high profile stars from the music and entertainment worlds to advocate for his release. In May, a teenager Isaiah Lewis was shot by police and killed in Oklahoma. Days later, Black Lives Matter held a 100-sturdy rally in protest of the incident. Major protests were sparked at the end of May followed by the loss of life of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020. Black Lives Matter went on to organize protests round the world.


Criticism against the BLM movement:

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement is the most compelling political challenge in many years of institutional racism and the status quo. The Black Lives Matter movement has additionally been greatly criticized by an increasing number of Americans, particularly for their strategies of protests and lack of leadership. Black conservatives, such as the Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson who comply with a long tradition of Blacks, blame the Blacks themselves for their problems. Carson’s view represents the mainstream of Republican ideology. A typical critical opinion column appeared in the Washington Post on August 24, 2015. The author of the column was Barbara Reynolds, who is a former columnist of USA Today, wrote an unapproved biography of Rev. Jesse Jackson. She is also an or appointed minister.[7] An FBI report was released in 2017, it was discovered that the attacks on police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Dallas, Texas have been motivated by the Black Lives Matter movement, with 28 percent of those who used lethal force against the enforcement officers were influenced by a hatred of police. An unclassified FBI report followed by the Dallas cop-killing spree of 2016 that left 5 officers shot dead stated that the departments and individual officers increasingly taking the decision to prevent proactive policing amid concerns that anti-police defiance fuelled in part by movements like Black Lives Matter has developed to be the new norm.


[8]Black Lives Matter in UK consolidated its movement with the Palestinian Arabs’ conflict towards Israel’s “settler colonial pursuits.” Black Lives Matter, UK tweeted in the first chain of tweets highlighting Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian Arabs groups that oppose “Zionism.” Many British Jewish leaders criticized these tweets made by the movement. Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational stated that it is very disheartening and perilous to post something like that to the thousands of followers who genuinely wants to fight racism. Black Lives Matter in the United States had tried to associate its achievements with the Palestinian Arab cause and some of its supporters continue to do so.[9] A famous Rapper Lord Jamar pointed out the BLM movement’s lack of leadership, and how the LGBTQ movement has hijacked it for their own agenda. The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnaney stated that the US President Donald Trump agrees that all Black lives matter but he disagrees with an organization that make disparaging statements about police officers. Mr. McEnany was indicating about an oft-cited chant of the protesters from five years ago.


BLM movement amidst COVID-19 Pandemic:

[10]The 2020 Black National Convention will take place on August 28, 2020 via a live broadcast. It will feature conversations, performances and other events designed to develop a set of demands ahead of the November general election. The convention is being organized by the Electoral Justice Project of the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 150 organizations. This declaration comes at a pivotal juncture for the BLM movement. A surge in public support, an inflow in donations and congressional activity to reform policing have drawn some strong negative reaction. Triggered by the broad public support for the Black Lives Matter, thousands of Black activists from throughout the U.S. will hold a virtual convention in August, 2020 to produce a brand-new political plan that pursues to build on the accomplishment of the protests that followed George Floyd’s death. Black Lives Matter movement went on to organize protests around the world. [11]Black activists Aima (18 years old), and Tash (21years old), organised a rally in Trafalgar Square, London which was attended by thousands of people on May 31st, 2020. Many more have followed since then. The most current AP analysis of COVID-19 data indicates that the Black people have made up greater than a 1/4 of the reported virus deaths. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), have discovered no evidence that coronavirus cases jumped in 315 cities within the weeks of consecutive protests.


[12]The Researchers stated that, while it is viable that the protests precipitated a growth in the spread of COVID-19 among individuals who attended the protests, they established that the protests had little effect on the spread of COVID-19 for the entire populace of the counties with protests for the duration of more than three weeks following protest onset.


Political aspects of the BLMs protest during COVID-19 pandemic:

The Black Lives Matter movement is a black-focused political movement which was founded in the year of 2013 in reaction to Zimmerman’s acquittal. The global rebellion by black people and in unity with black people unfold at an unprecedented speed and scale. The uprising crossed borders and language limitations, as protesters from Paris, London, Brussels and Minneapolis realised their grievances have been the same, the eradication of their history, the persecution of immigration structures’ , the impunity of the police.[13] The fast advancement of protests across the West beneath the Black Lives Matter banner has left a political breathlessness from Baltimore to Berlin. The ones in positions of authority are scurrying to reveal that they are addressing endemic racism, and in the industrial and economic sphere, not ending up on the wrong aspect of the debate and risking Twitter storms and boycotts. It had been clarified from the beginning that the lockdowns are going to have a catastrophic impact on the economy. [14]It is not very startling that the Black Lives Matter protests started at the same time as the lockdowns. Black Lives Matter protests provide every other enormous diversion from the huge destruction of the US economy. The plundering, rioting and sacrilege of statues furnished the appropriate one-two punch for those who see a few tactical benefits in intensifying public tension by exacerbating racial tensions and dividing the nation into two warring camps. This primary plan has been used typically numerous times in the past, most drastically in the year following the invasion of Iraq.


The killing of George Floyd has been used in an awfully identical way as the implosion of the mosque. It creates a reputable narrative for a huge and coordinated protests that have less to do with racial injustice than they do with diverting interest from the destruction of the economy and sowing division among the American people. The BLM's activity spikes every four years. Black Lives Matter activists, who rejects Donald Trump’s policies, are likely to be on the agenda for the next presidential candidates, as was the case in 2016 at Bernie’s Sanders meeting, the failed candidate for the Democratic primary. It has been observed that the Democratic candidate Joe Biden is trying to get closer to the movement as he stood in the polls after giving a speech at George Floyd’s funeral. Always prior to the elections in the US, as African Americans make up an essential social section of Democrat votes.


Conclusion:

Racial drawback is a reality however a complicated one. It affects some groups greater than others, and regularly overlaps with the downside of social elegance. The BLM movement started six years ago. The powerful movement began following George Zimmerman’s acquittal. The Black Lives Matter campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards Black people. Though it was originally founded in the US, the movement is now something that can accessed from around the globe as the George Floyd protests display.



FOOTNOTES:

[1] Ellen Kershner, “What Is the Black Lives Matter Movement?” World Atlas, June 4, 2020. [2] Alem Tedeneke, “The Black Lives Matter movement explained” World Economic Forum, August 11,2016. [3] Melissa Chan, “Black Lives Matter Releases List of Demands for the First Time” TIME, August 1,2016. [4] Guy Faulconbridge, Michael Holden (eds.), “Black Lives Matter: London protest leader demands meeting with Boris Johnson” INDEPENDENT, June 20, 2020. [5] Shannon Bream, “Timeline of events in Black Lives Matter movement” Fox NEWs, June 26, 2020. [6] Colin Daileda, “Black Lives Matter: A time line of a movement” MashableIndia, August 10, 2016. [7] Malik Miah, “BLM: A Movement and Its Critics” Solidarity, December, 2015. [8] Marcy Oster, “Black Lives Matter UK conflates its movement with fight against Israel” AURUTZ SHEVA7, June 29,2020. [9] INFOWARS, “WATCH: RAPPER CALLS BLACK LIVES MATTER “A MOVEMENT GIVEN TO US BY GEORGE SOROS” (July 3,2020). Retrieved July 5, 2020 from https://www.infowars.com/watch-rapper-calls-black-lives-matter-a-movement-given-to-us-by-george-soros/. [10] Aaron Morrison, “Black Lives Matter movement plans virtual national convention” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 30, 2020. [11] Cosmopolitan, “Black Lives Matter: a timeline of the movement” (June 19,2020). Retrieved July 6 [12] Jackie Salo, “BLM protests have not led to a spike in coronavirus cases: study” The New York Post, June 24, 2020. [13] Alexandra Phillips, “Make no mistake – BLM is a radical neo-Marxist political movement” The Telegraph, June 12, 2020. [14] Mike Whitney, “The Covid -BLM Diversion – “Shock Therapy” Behind a Smokescreen of Hysteria and Racial Incitement” OpEdNews, February 2, 2020.

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