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The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement started as an online campaign, with the main aim of campaigning against violence and racism that faced the African Americans. It began as a response to the fact that African Americans lives did not matter to the whites. Although it originated in the African American community, the movement has gained an international forum with activities joining forces from all over the world in the fight against vices like police brutality, racial inequality, and violence. The BLM movement gained its national and international recognition during its street demonstration after the death of two African Americans, Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York City. Since the passing of the two, participants of this movement have demonstrated against the deaths of other numerous African Americans. BLM claims to have been inspired by the African-American Civil Right Movement and the Black Feminist Movement. It has, however, received various reactions with most of the whites perceiving the movement as a racial organization. Most African Americans view the BLM action as an efficient tool that will succeed in the long run in helping the black community achieve equality(Nelson pg. 1734-1737). To analyze the BLM movement, it is necessary to understand the communities from which the movement and the organization both operate.
BLM movement started in 2013, with the use of an online hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in the social media protesting against police killings of the black people. The movement originated in the African American society due to the violence and racism towards the black people. BLM gained popularity after the demonstration in 2014 following the deaths of two black people(Larson pg. 36-66). Three black community organizers later co-founded the movement; Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi who met through a national organization that trained organizers. Through a discussion of methods they could use to respond to the oppression, racism and the lack of importance of black lives. Through her Facebook account, Garza started the online campaign through her status with the title, “A love Note to Black People” in which she said: “Our Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter.” Several supporters added their comments with using the hashtag Black Lives Matter and the movement begun.
The movement was later expanded beyond the social media hashtag to extend in the streets through many demonstrations. Progress has seen the movement hold conferences that focus on the critical issues important to the African Americans in their effort to liberate their community(Nelson pg. 1734-1737). Moreover, the movement has connected people working to see the end of social and political injustices affecting the black community across the country and even internationally. The BLM movement has created a platform where black people are recognized and celebrated as their lives equally matter just like anyone else’s life.
BLM movement is built mostly on the traditional concepts of the black community fight for freedom from all form of injustices they face in the United Stated. This has been further strengthened by the fact that the movement has distanced themselves from the old leadership that concentrated on charismatic leadership and instead people have embraced the group type of leadership(Hope, Elan, Micere, and Mylespg. 203-215). This has instilled a sense of direct participation by like- minded black people who air their views and together engage in activities that improves the lives of the blacks. Moreover, as Fredrick C, a political scientist argues, the leadership approach used in the BLM movement represents a new civil right movement. Although many philosophers have distanced themselves from making direct comments about the campaign, most of them would argue that it is impossible to do epistemology, without understanding the political nature of the people. Epistemology is the study that helps understand people’s beliefs, truths, and justification for their actions.
The lack of a defined structure in the movement has caused confusion among the participants, and from the general public. This is because any statements or actions from individuals is considered the stand of the movement as a whole when in most cases the people are not necessarily part of the BLM movement. The movement has broadened to even accommodate other organizations and activists under the banner of BLM(Larson pg. 36-66). As a result, the movement has become extensive not only locally but also globally. This has created a community of diverse people from different backgrounds fighting the same battle.
The first platform of the movement was social media where the participants reached out to thousands of people through the use of hashtag with the common phrase of Black Lives Matter. Since then, the people involved have embraced different tactics to advocate for the need for racial equality and an end to violence. Information technologies that enable sharing of information like Facebook and Twitter have been essential tools in spreading their messages. Also, the participants engaged in direct actions tactics which are methods used to make people uncomfortable for them to address the issue. This has been achieved through protests and rallies. During their demonstrations, political slogans like “White silence is violence,” “No justice no peace,” and “Is my son next?” among others are used(Hoffman, Granger, Vallejos and Moats pg. 595-611). There have been African American artists who have also incorporated the slogans into their music which has increased the spread of the BLM concepts globally. Also, the wealthy black people have supported the movement financially through funds and also through activities like paying bail for protesters and rebuilding infrastructure.
To keep the movement real, it has always been necessary to have strategies and actions that will ensure that only the black people are involved in the movement without the white community participation(Elmasry and Nawawy pg. 1-19). If there will ever exist a society where all lives matter, it is important to support the BLM as it is the very movement that inspires and attracts much more people to join hands in the fight for equality and justice. This means supporting and acknowledging the black people and helping them in their fight for a peaceful nation where racial equality is critical. The fact that the black community is a target by the state from whose perspective is that the black lives do not matter, it is crucial to stand firm with the movement in the struggle for a better future of all people regardless of race or social class.
The purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement is to eliminate racial discrimination in the criminal justice system to save the lives of the black people who have been in most cases victims of the injustices that prevail in the country. Many critics claim that the movement is trying to help the black people rise against all other races and cultures, instead of caring for all individuals to have a better country. However, through many cases of injustice, it is clear that the black community has been denied equal opportunities and treatment as the white community. It is, therefore, important for the movement to advocate for equality. It is also essential to recognize that there have been significant reforms which have impacted positively on the black community. The racism gap is slowly closing up, and there has been an improvement in the justice outcomes of the black people. Also, the black communities are now provided with more opportunities in securing jobs and education to their places of choice where there were previous restrictions of whites only(Cohen, Cathy, and Sarah pg. 775-792). To expand such positive outcomes, it is necessary to show the areas that still require change so as to bring together people of all races and class through such platforms as have been provided by the BLM movement.
BLM movement’s message that is being communicated is that black people have been denied their fundamental human rights of justice and freedom. This is through the realization that there is no dignity accorded to black lives in addition to the fact that many of them are locked away in prisons and jails. The state of violence in which the black community exists and lack of black people value from the white community. It is through freedom and liberation that there will be peace in the country; when the black people go free, everybody gets free. The country should understand that when the black people are liberated, the benefits will be reaching wide as there will be transformation of the society as a whole. This is the strong message behind BLM movement which is calling on people of the same idea to take up the initiative of making a difference in the society. The slogan does not mean that black lives are more important than the lives of others, it is a fight of people who have been oppressed in their society and are seeking liberation to live freely. BLM movement focuses on the fact that the black people are living in a liberal democratic nation where racial inequality is dominant and the African Americans do not experience the fundamental right to safety and protection from their government.
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