The Black Lives Matter Movement, is an important and effective form of social protest receiving national attention lately. BLM is a political and social movement strongly against police brutality and violence towards the suppressed Black community. This movement has been around for about eight years. According to Herstory online: “In 2013, three radical Black organizers — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi — created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman.”
Recent BLM protests took place in the month of June in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. George Floyd had visited a store, using twenty dollars to pay for his items, which was determined by the employee to be counterfeit, who then called the police. The cops arrested Floyd, and police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the floor, kneeling on his neck. Floyd repeatedly told the police that he could not breathe, as evidenced through body cam recordings, yet the officer did not remove his knee from Floyd’s neck. After about twenty minutes, Floyd expired. This death, along with the lack of accountability which followed, initiated protests. This officer, according to online sources, was released on a million dollar bond and is currently facing manslaughter and murder charges. Still, the injustice of this unnecessary death should weigh heavily on many. Senior Taylor Perline stated: “George Floyd’s death was heartbreaking and had a huge impact on the protests over the summer.”
The death of Floyd, was followed by the case of Breonna Taylor, when her apartment was raided by police officers. The botched attempt ended with Taylor being killed, and a detective charged and terminated for “wanton endangerment of neighbors.” It also took a long time for these officers to receive due retribution. Thus, BLM rallied against both of these injustices.
Out of all of their protests recently, 93% of them were peaceful, sources state. The other 7% have caused damage or acts of violence. This may include damage to people, property, businesses, and vandalism. In some cases, the movement protests led to fires and much damage to businesses over the summer. According to an NY Times online article: “The ACLED report includes protests toppling statues of ‘colonial figures, slave owners and Confederate leaders’ as violent incidents.’ ” Protestors focused on destroying representations of the confederacy, and/or slave owners, and in some cases, historical sites that in no way represented either of these were destroyed as well. This vandalism and destruction becomes the negative of any protest movement. There will always be two sides to this situation. “In my opinion, I think the BLM protests are ignorant. To me ALL lives matter, including black lives, so why try and destroy your country in the process? You should want to try to make your community and society better, not worse,” remarked senior Elaina Villano.
So there can be much speculation and opinions on the recent protest for black lives. Though these protests have subsided, the BLM movement isn’t finished. They will be continuing because they believe that there are still injustices and racial issues occurring every day. Let us stop to consider how we personally can prevent these injustices and discrimination within our own small sphere here at HHS or in our social communities and homes.