Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a decentralized political and social movement that protests police brutality and all forms of racially motivated violence against African-Americans. While some organizations, such as the Black Lives Matter Global Network, simply call themselves “Black Lives Matter,” the BLM movement is made up of a diverse group of individuals and organizations.
No organization has copyrighted the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” Typically, the broader movement and its affiliated organizations advocate against police violence against black people, as well as a variety of other legislative changes deemed to be relevant to black emancipation.
After George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the February 2012 shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin, the movement began in July 2013 with the introduction of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media.
Following the 2014 killings of two African Americans, Michael Brown and Eric Garner in New York City, the movement gained global attention for street demonstrations.
Participants in the movement have demonstrated against the deaths of countless more African Americans by police acts or while in police custody since the Ferguson protests. The activists became interested in the 2016 US presidential election in the summer of 2015.
Between 2014 and 2016, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, the creators of the hashtag and call to action, developed their effort into a national network of over 30 local chapters. The Black Lives Matter movement as a whole is a decentralized, non-hierarchical network of activists.
Following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in 2020, the campaign resurfaced in the national spotlight and gained even more worldwide prominence during the global George Floyd protests.
The 2020 rallies of the movement in the United States drew an estimated 15 million to 26 million participants, making it one of the country’s largest movements in history. The movement encompasses a wide range of viewpoints and objectives, but it is centered on criminal justice reform.
BLM’s popularity has varied dramatically over time. Even though public opinion on Black Lives Matter was overwhelmingly negative in 2018, it gained in popularity in 2019 and 2020. According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in June 2020, 67 percent of adult Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement in some way.
A subsequent poll taken in September 2020 revealed that support among American adults had declined to 55%, with large drops among whites and Hispanics, but support among black people remained broad.
Black Lives Matter – Funding
According to Politico, the Democracy Alliance, a group of Democratic-Party funders, planned to meet with leaders of various organizations that endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement in 2015.
According to Politico, by 2015, Solidaire, a donor group focused on “movement building” and founded by Texas oil billionaire heir Leah Hunt-Hendrix, a member of the Democracy Alliance, had donated over $200,000 to the BLM movement.
According to The Economist, donations to Black Lives Matter-related charities totaled $10.6 billion between May 2020 and December 2020. The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, one of the key groups coordinating organizing and mobilization efforts across the Black Lives Matter network, reported raising $90 million in 2020, with an average gift of $30.76.
BLM -Tactics and Strategies
To reach thousands of individuals quickly, BLM employed a variety of social media tools, including hashtag activism. Black Lives Matter has used a variety of techniques since then.
The majority of Black Lives Matter protests have been peaceful; when violence does occur, it is frequently perpetrated by police or counter-protestors. Opponents have depicted the movement as violent despite this.
Black Lives Matter – International Movement
Following the killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland in 2015, black activists throughout the world based their reform efforts after Black Lives Matter and the Arab Spring. The “Black Spring” is the name given to this global movement. Parallel international efforts, such as the Dalit rights movement, have also been forged.
Protests in the aftermath of Ms. Dhu’s death in police custody in August 2014 frequently alluded to the BLM movement. A BLM event was held in Melbourne, Australia, in July 2016, with 3,500 people in attendance. The demonstration also brought attention to issues of police and government maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians.
The Sydney Peace Prize, which “honors a nominee who has supported ‘peace with justice,’ human rights, and nonviolence,” was given to Black Lives Matter in May 2017. Protests were held in Australia in early June 2020, shortly after the George Floyd protests in the US.
With many of them focussing on the local issue of Aboriginal deaths in detention, racism in Australia, and other injustices suffered by Indigenous Australians. Cricketer Michael Holding chastised Australia and England for refusing to take a knee during matches in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
BLM protestors shut down Allen Road in Toronto, Ontario, in July 2015, in response to the police shooting murders of two black men in the metropolitan area, Andrew Loku, and Jermaine Carby. BLM activists shut down Toronto streets in September, citing police brutality and solidarity with “marginalized black lives” as justifications. The Take Back the Night rally in Toronto included a segment on Black Lives Matter.
In June 2016, Pride Toronto named Black Lives Matter as the honored organization in that year’s Pride march, during which they conducted a half-hour sit-in to prevent the parade from continuing forward.
They demanded that Pride adjust its relationship with LGBTQ people of color, including stable funding and a suitable venue for the established Blockorama event, improved diversity in the organization’s staff and volunteer base, and the prohibition of uniformed Toronto Police officers marching in the parade.
BLM’s declaration of demand was signed by Pride executive director Mathieu Chantelois, but he later claimed that he merely signed it to terminate the sit-in and get the march moving, not to comply with the requests.
The Toronto branch held a protest outside the Special Investigations Unit in Mississauga in late August 2016 in response to the death of Abdirahman Abdi, who died while being arrested in Ottawa. The assassinations of Regis Korchinski-Paquet and D’Andre Campbell in Canada in 2020 provoked BLM rallies asking that police services be defunded.
There are five BLM chapters in Canada as of December 2020: Toronto, Vancouver, Waterloo Region, Edmonton, and New Brunswick. Addressing inequalities, racism, and other injustices suffered by Indigenous Canadians is another main focus of the Black Lives Matter campaign in Canada.
In the summer of 2016, Black Lives Matter became a movement in the United Kingdom. Thousands of people turned out in Manchester on July 11 to protest police racism, and a group named Black Lives Matter UK (UKBLM) was formed in the aftermath of Patrisse Cullors, a US BLM activist spoke at a meeting on June 26 about the Brexit referendum.
BLM demonstrators in London, England, stopped at London City Airport on August 4, 2016. On the airport’s runway, a group of activists formed a human chain. In connection with the incident, nine persons were arrested. Other English cities, such as Birmingham and Nottingham, held BLM-themed protests. The fifth anniversary of Mark Duggan’s shooting death was observed with protests in the United Kingdom.
Protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States were held in 2020. Protests in Trafalgar Square on May 31, Hyde Park on June 3, Parliament Square on June 6, and outside the US Embassy on June 7 followed the assassination of George Floyd.
Manchester, Bristol, and Cardiff all saw similar protests. The UK protests not only showed solidarity with US protesters, but also paid tribute to black people who have died in the UK, with protesters chanting, carrying signs, and sharing social media posts with the names of victims such as Julian Cole, Belly Mujinga, Nuno Cardoso, and Sarah Reed.
On June 28, Black Lives Matter UK was chastised for a series of tweets about Israel from their verified Twitter account, including one that claimed: “mainstream British politics is barred from criticizing Zionism.” The Premier League, which had the Black Lives Matter insignia on their football shirts for the remainder of the 2019–20 season, later stated that attempts by groups to hijack the movement for their political objectives are completely unacceptable.
In the summer of 2020, Black Lives Matter UK formalized its organization after receiving significant funding. The group’s official name was changed to Black Liberation Movement UK in September 2020, and it was officially established as a community benefit society.
In its global coordinated efforts, however, the group continues to employ the Black Lives Matter label. The Black Liberation Movement began distributing cash to grassroots black-led and anti-racist organizations across the United Kingdom in January 2021.
In their first test series against the West Indies in 2020, as well as three one-day internationals against Ireland, England’s cricket team took a knee. The decision to not take the knee before games against Pakistan and Australia was attacked by the Wisden editorial board, and former West Indies star Michael Holding criticized them for coming up with “lame excuses” to avoid doing so.
Black Lives Matter – Criticism
BLM’s tactics have been attacked by several black civil rights leaders, including Cecil “Chip” Murray, Najee Ali, and Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who assert that “all they can do is disrupt and make a racket.” Barbara Ann Reynolds, an author, and evangelist has questioned BLM’s confrontational tactics. .
While supporting the movement’s foundations, economist Glenn Loury has condemned public retaliation against “White politicians who say All Lives Matter” and the movement’s apparent dividing impact.
Mark Lilla critiques Black Lives Matter in his 2018 book The Once and Future Liberal as part of a larger left-wing critique of identity politics. Though he agreed with their goals, he described their rhetoric as “a perfect example of how not to develop solidarity,” claiming that the campaign alienates people through its negative attitude toward American society and police enforcement, as well as their oppressive tactics.
He also made a negative comparison to the leaders of the civil rights movement, who were “consciously appealing to what we share” rather than emphasizing disparities in race and other identities.
Many academics have denounced techniques adopted by some Black Lives Matter campaigners as stifling speech and repressing academic freedom, including John McWhorter, Eric Kaufmann, John Ellis, Marybeth Gasman, Glenn Loury, and at least 153 other scholars. They say that as a result, self-censorship, academic inquiry, and research bias have increased. Academics, according to critics, have been afraid to speak out against suppression for fear of retaliation.
High-profile academics, such as Jeffrey Flier, Dean of the Harvard Medical School, and Abigail Thompson, Vice President of the American Mathematical Society, have spoken out against the use of “diversity statements” in admission, hiring, and tenure decisions.
Thompson compared the pledges to McCarthy’s loyalty oaths. Scholars have condemned Black Lives Matter promises as unlawful when schools receive state assistance.
Women are not given enough attention
Women in the BLM movement, like Treva B. Lindsey, a professor, and civil rights campaigner, have contended that BLM has prioritized black men’s stories over black women’s. For example, more protests have been held in response to the murders of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin than in response to the murders of Kayla Moore and Rekia Boyd.
Say Her Name was formed in response to the deaths of black women by police, to bring their names into the Black Lives Matter movement. Their claimed purpose is to provide a more comprehensive, yet non-competing, narrative to the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole.
#BlackLivesMatter was started in 2013 in response to Trayvon Martin’s acquittal. The Black Lives Matter Global Network Organization is a global foundation that supports Black-led groups in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Its purpose is to end white supremacy and create local power to intervene in state and vigilante violence against Black communities. We are winning immediate changes in our lives by resisting and countering acts of violence, providing space for Black ingenuity and innovation, and focusing on Black joy.
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