Black Lives Matter Movement


Image via CNN

Aubry-Jean Morgan

The BLM movement, like a lot of movements, started with a hashtag. This hashtag in particular was #BlackLivesMatter. It started in 2012 after the court did not find George Zimmerman guilty of shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman had seen Martin on his way home from a store trip for his father, he had called 911 to report a suspicious person and was told to stay in his car and wait. He, however, got out of his car and proceeded to shoot Martin and claimed that it was in self-defense. The movement continued to grow thanks to the hashtag and in 2013 Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi created the movement and project: Black Lives Matter. It is now a member-led organization with more than 40 sections. 


The movement has since grown into a worldwide movement especially after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by the hands of Minneapolis police. The police had arrested him after a convenience store called saying he had used a counterfeit dollar to pay for his cigarettes. Although Floyd was not resisting he ended up being pinned by his neck on the ground. Chauvin, the cop, had his knee on Floyd’s neck for a total of 8 minutes and 15 seconds and proceeded to keep it there after Floyd lost consciousness and another minute after the paramedics arrived. However, unlike Zimmerman, he was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin and the other officers at the scene were also fired. 


On July 24, 2015, the official movement for black lives started. It is a collection of over 50 groups and represents the interests of the black community all over the country. The movement originally started in Cleveland State University where almost 2,000 people showed up. The Ford Foundation announced plans to donate to the movement for six years. Other organizations also donated to them and they accrued over 100 million dollars. 


Many people began protesting against police brutality and unfair treatment and they began to get more attention. The George Floyd Protest in Portland, Oregon is ranked as the largest protest ever due to its large attendance of 15 million to 26 million. Although the majority of the protests were peaceful, sometimes they would turn violent, with rioting and heated confrontations with the police. Police would retaliate by using tear gas or other weapons to control the group, which simply sparked more anger in the people. There was also a lot of looting and arson during the riots. 


Some people may be asking what the overall goal of this movement was. Their goal was to get rid of white supremacy and police brutality and to ensure the injustices that had been done to other people wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted was for people who have been wronged to have the rights they deserved. The racism that was displayed against people such as George Floyd and Trayvon Martin was extremely unfair. They did nothing wrong, yet were killed simply because of their skin color. They already have the rights they deserve when we fought in the civil war, and they were being pushed around and abused again. The black lives matter movement was “A historic opportunity to stop police brutality and advance racial justice.”