By: Trisha Brahmachari — National and International News Editor
Throughout communities all across the country, the faces of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are on the sides of buildings, and the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ stand out in residential and commercial windows.
Black Lives Matter is an activist movement that began from the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter after seventeen year-old Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. After the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, two additional unarmed African-American men, neither of the officers involved in their deaths were indicted. Thus, triggering the popularization of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
“Black Lives Matter is our call to action. It is a tool to reimagine a world where black people are free to exist, free to live. It is a tool for our allies to show up differently for us,” says Patrisse Cullors, a founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
“We need this because the global reality is that black people are subject to all sorts of disparities in most of our most challenging issues of our day. I think about issues like climate change, and how six of the 10 worst impacted nations by climate change are actually on the continent of Africa. People are reeling from all sorts of unnatural disasters, displacing them from their ancestral homes and leaving them without a chance at making a decent living,” added Opal Tometi, another founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
After George Floyd’s death on May 5 of 2020, countries all over the world erupted with anger and participated in various forms of protest to advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement. Protests are still happening all over the world as well to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
On October 27, a group of high school students residing in Scarborough, Maine staged a BLM protest in response to a comment from their superintendent claiming Black Lives Matter was a controversial topic. “You can’t choose what race you are,” said Mia Goulder, a senior at the protest. “You can choose your opinion on certain political stances, but because it is about someone’s race, that doesn’t make it political,” Goulder added.
As protests continue all over the country, the Black Lives Matter movement acts and responds to various ongoing issues all over the world as well.
The #ENDSARS movement against police brutality in Nigeria is a movement supported by BLM as well. “We stand in solidarity with the brave Nigerians who were gunned down by security forces while exercising their right to protest. We stand in support of every Nigerian who has raised their voice against police brutality and to disband the SARS unit,” — an official statement from the Black Lives Matter website.
The Black Lives Matter movement has been harshly criticized by numerous public figures as well, being referred to as a ‘symbol of hate’ by the President of the United States. “This will further antagonize New York’s Finest, who LOVE New York & vividly remember the horrible BLM chant, ‘Pigs In A Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon.’ Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead,” said Trump, in response to New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the street outside of Trump Tower.
Regardless, Black Lives Matter has brought activism amongst young people and has acted as a confidence booster to many. “As a person of colour, when we make the change that we need to make, I want to say I was a part of that, and I helped to bring about that change,” said 14-year-old Eleanor Woolstonecroft.