Hist Essay Response
Jessica Mc Kenna
Black Lives Matter (BLM) though very different from the Civil Rights Movement and other protest or marches has a goal pretty identical. Their goal is to elevate the importance and worth of Black lives. BLM attracts not just those of that ethnic and racial group which is a step that the Civil Rights Movement was not able to take. With access to social media the ability to mobilize protests or marches can happen in a matter of hours (Harris, 2021). BLM was founded back in 2013, after those who killed Trayvon Martin were acquitted. This is a global organization with a mission to eradicate white supremacy and help local power to build, and ultimately intervene when violence is inflicted (Harris, 2021).
Names that have become famous due to police brutality that led to death are Rodney King, Stephon Clark, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd (Altman, 2020). There are times where crisis allows for change, but often that leads to riots and other forms of violence. Back in 1992 when the riots began the LAPD mentioned they would forever be changed and that the lessons learned would not be forgotten, that they would not fail us again (Altman, 2020). The Rodney King beating was a start to what led to BLM because it was an issue arising and happening across the nation. Over the years, continued police brutality and African Americans being mistreated has led us to the BLM movement we see today. Duke experts (2020) mention that when people believe the system won’t work for them and that the system is designed to work against them, you will see those same people have faith and try to create change through that very system.
The government has the responsibility to better the lives of all their citizens not just those they want to. This is why BLM has become so prominent in our society. This group is not to say that other races do not matter but to show the injustice that continues to happen. They do not want to focus on all races because not everyone has had to deal with what they continue to deal with. When killings or other injustices happen, this group is often at the forefront with a protest or march that request justice for those who can no longer fight for themselves. Often the protest is non-violent and actually have people who try to keep the peace. Terrence Floyd the brother to George Floyd paid tribute to his brother by begging for calm among the crowd because that is what his brother would have wanted. He stated “peace on the left, justice on the right” (Altman, 2020).
There has been reform among the police but it still has further to go. BLM will continue to play a part for years to come until change they hope to see is accomplished. As politicians stand in their way then American people of all races will continue to protest that we can and will do better (Harris, 2021). It will be important for everyone to keep an open mind and to continue to fight racism. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away which is why groups like BLM are created. African Americans have the right to feel the way they do and if you do not believe that, then that is part of the problem and mindset that needs to change. Things can get better if worked at hard enough, now the time and effort just need to be put in.
Altman, Larry. 2020. “1992 And 2020: A Look Back and Ahead in the Country’s Struggle for Justice”. KCET. https://www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/1992-and-2020-a-look-back-and-ahead-in-the-countrys-struggle-for-justice
“Duke Experts Discuss George Floyd, Police Conduct and Protests: WRAL.Com”. 2020. WRAL.Com. https://www.wral.com/duke-experts-discuss-george-floyd-police-conduct-and-protests/19126315/.
Harris, Anthony J. “The Civil Rights Movement. Million Man March. Black Lives Matter.” International journal of multiple research approaches 13, no. 1 (2021): 33–40.
African Americans have had a continuous fight for racial justice and equality in the United States. The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow laws and segregation have left residue of racism that has never truly ended. Blacks continue to fight for their lives and communities and continue to be a target of society.
In 1992 Rodney King, a 25-year-old black man survived a brutal beating by officers in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The horrific event was captured on video showing four police officers beating a helpless man with their batons. King was hit more than 50 times. The four officers were found not guilty of most charges and caused an outrage in communities. Violent riots and beatings were a result of this event; the violence led to National Guard Soldiers and Marines called on to restore order; however, crimes and killings against black people did not stop. Racial discrimination continues.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a movement formed in 2013 as a response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who murdered an unarmed 17-year-old black teenager, Trayvon Martin. Trayvon was walking to his father’s house in a middle-class gated community and was pursued by Zimmerman, who felt Martin was in the wrong neighborhood. Zimmerman called the police and was told to stop pursuing Martin but confronted him anyway. Martin, unarmed, defended himself and Zimmerman ultimately shot and killed him. He was arrested and charged but found not guilty of murder and acquitted of manslaughter charges. Unlike the 1990s, social media was growing extremely fast, providing a solid platform of sharing information.
BLM gained momentum when Darren Wilson, a white police officer shot and killed 18-year-old black man, Michael Brown. The killing took place in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. BLM organized Freedom Rides for more than 500 people over 18 cities across the United States. BLM rapidly spread into a world-wide movement after the footage of the terrifying death of George Floyd went viral. There are hundreds of black men and women who have fallen victim to police brutality.
Black Lives Matter movement is seen by many as the Civil Rights Movement of our time and has grown from a hashtag to a world-wide organization with over 30 chapters. BLM addresses the same issues previous black movements had and building on strategies used in the 1960s.
Clayton. (2018). Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights Movement: A Comparative Analysis of Two Social Movements in the United States. Journal of Black Studies, 49(5), 448–480. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021934718764099
McIvor. (2016). Mourning in America: Race and the Politics of Loss. Cornell University Press.