United States: The Movement for Black Lives

The Movement for Black Lives (also known as Black Lives Matter) aims to expose and dismantle systemic discrimination against the African-American community in the United States.

The movement began in 2012 with the controversial killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17 year-old, by neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman. The court acquitted Zimmerman of both second-degree murder and manslaughter. #BlackLivesMatter rallied and marched against the court’s verdict, deemed another case of impunity for violence against blacks.

In the following months, the movement used social media to expose cases of police brutality and mobilized supporters to pressure local governments and police departments to ensure more accountability. Black Lives Matter activists successfully made police brutality a central issue to the 2016 presidential elections, demanding new regulations on the use of force by police.  In an attempt to demonize the movement, activists have been accused of inciting violence against local police and have spurred a modest counter movement called “Blue Lives Matter” (“Blue” referring to the police).

In the summer of 2016, two years after the birth of the movement, dozens of grassroots organizations formally formed the Movement for Black Lives and released a comprehensive policy platform to achieve racial justice and equality in the United States.

 

Further Readings: 


Policy Platform. Movement For Black Lives. 
The policy proposals taken by consensus from a collective of activists organizations working to end violence against Black communities.

A Year of Black Lives Matter. The Atlantic. 31 December 2015. 
A schematic summary of the broad Black Lives Matter movement in 2015 and a brief discussion of some criticism.

How a death in Ferguson sparked a movement in America. CBS New. 7 August 2015. 
A history of the formation and motivation behind Black Lives Matter. 

Zimmerman Is Acquitted in Trayvon Martin Killing. The New York Times. 13 July 2013. 
The story of the Trayvon Martin killing and subsequent court case. The outrage over the case gave birth to the movement.

Black Lives Matter
The website of the Black Live Matter forum. 

Blue Lives Matter
Website of Blue Live Matter, a reaction and response to Black Lives Matter.