Black Lives Matter builds power to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe. The movement for black lives has startled the globe from California to London to Australia. #Blacklivesmatter has proven to be a rallying cry for a new chapter in the long black freedom struggle. Here are five things you should know about it.
BLM started with a love letter
Unarmed Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch who felt Travyon in 2012. Posting about this incident on Facebook, Alicia Garza wrote a ‘Love Letter to Black Folks’: “We don’t deserve to be killed with impunity. We need to love ourselves and fight for a world where black lives matter. Black people, I love you. I love us. We matter.
Our lives matter.” Within some hours, fellow community organizer Patrisse Cullors created the social media hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, and Opal Tometi created the website and social media platforms. Within a moment it connected people across the country.
BLM was cofounded in 2013 as an online movement. It’s started by using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media by three Black community organizers. They are Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi. They formed BLM after George Zimmerman, a man of German and Peruvian descent, was acquitted on charges stemming from his fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, in Sanford, Florida, in February 2012.
From protests to policy solutions
Ongoing local and national protests and other actions often sparked by the deaths of other unarmed African Americans have brought the Black Lives Matter movement to the public consciousness and talk of the town. Black Lives activists released “Campaign Zero,” which includes ten policy solutions developed in conjunction with activists, protestors and researchers across the country. It’s integrating community demands, input from research organizations and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
BLM, a global network
For Alicia, Patrisse and Opal, #BlackLivesMatter was never meant to be ‘just’ a hashtag or social media meme. Long before the protests that grabbed the world’s attention, the Co-Founders started to organize people across the country, encouraging a broader and deeper conversation about what justice and dignity for black people might look like in an era of increasing inequality, mass incarceration and relentless police violence and how people could join forces and build the power needed to achieve it. The Black Lives Matter Global Network now has over 40 chapters worldwide, scattered across the US, Canada, the UK and with a growing presence in South African and Australia.
‘Black lives matter’ is not an anti-white movement
While all lives should matter, this is a utopia as we do not currently live in a world where all lives are equal. The statement “Black lives matter” is not an anti-white proposition. Contained within the statement is an unspoken but implied “too,” as in “black lives matter, too,” it is a statement of inclusion rather than exclusion. Only when Black lives matter will all lives matter. Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean your life isn’t important it means that Black lives, which are seen without value within White supremacy, are important to your liberation.