BLM (Black Lives Matter.)

Egzihareya Bereket, Communications

Black Lives Matter is an international movement formed in the United States in 2013, dedicated to fighting racism and black violence, especially in the form of police brutality. The name black lives matter signals condemnation of the unjust killings of black’s by police (Black’s are far more likely to be killed by police in the United States that white people) and the demand that society value the lives and humanity of black people as much as it values the lives and humanity of white people.

In 2013, three female Black organizers Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi created a Black-centered political will and a movement-building project called Black Lives Matter.  Black Lives Matter began with a social media hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin back in 2012.  The movement grew nationally in 2014 after the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York.  Since then it has established itself as a worldwide movement, particularly after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.  Most recently, #Black Lives Matter has spearheaded demonstrations worldwide protesting police brutality and systematic racism that overwhelmingly affects the Black community.

According to the Black Lives Matter website they were “founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer.  Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.  By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.”

For more than 500 years Black people have been fighting for our freedom. We have fought back against slavery, Black codes, Jim Crow laws, policing, incarceration, some of the highest unemployment rates, consistent homelessness, dying while giving birth, being murdered for being trans or non-binary. We have been the consistent moral compass in a country that has thrived on harming the most vulnerable of its population.

Every Black who has fought for our dignity deserves the deepest bow of gratitude. Six years later and Black activists and organizers are moving forward towards justice, towards visions, towards a world where our families and communities are no longer the sacrifices for a better America, for a better world. We are doing that through our continued fight against elected officials, be it Democrat or Republican, who don’t share a vision that is radical and intersectional. We are building grassroots power with Black communities who have been left out of the political process. We are building new spaces and places that tell Black stories and remind the world of our everlasting contributions.

In the last six years, many of us faced down tanks, rubber bullets, were forced to do jail and prison sentences, have been surveilled, lied on, called terrorists, been given false labels by the FBI, and some of us have lost our lives. These six years have been the most profound six years of our lives and the most traumatic and destabilizing six years of our lives.