The Black Lives Matter movement spanned the entire United States in late 2014 and early 2015 due to the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in the city of New York. The two young men were murdered by policemen, and, at the time, this generated a great revolt. The Black Lives Matter movement proposes to fight not only police brutality, but also the economic, social, and political conditions that oppress African-Americans in the USA.
The movement was co-founded by three black activists: Alicia Garza, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Patrisse Cullors, director of the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in Los Angeles and Opal Tometi, an activist for immigrants’ rights. It all started in 2013 with the organization of a protest against the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, in the case of the murder of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black man. But in 2014, the movement took on grand proportions due to the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson. In August 2014, Black Lives Matter organized a “freedom march” that featured 500 activists in Ferguson.
Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson, Pink, Bono, and others explain why it’s time to take action to heal the long history of systemic racism in America in the video “The 23 ways you could be killed if you are a black in America“. The video was edited by the Alicia Keys foundation, “We Are Here,” which works to affirm the black community’s rights. Each cites a case in which a black victim had his life taken in recent years. They list murders like that of Tamir Rice, just 12 years old, murdered by the police for carrying a toy gun. Eric Garner, a street vendor who died strangled in an approach, and 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, shot to death by a security guard in a gated community without doing anything. Some athletes also spoke on the subject. DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George, both basketball players, posted photos with a completely black background on their social networks, as a protest on behalf of #blacklivesmatter.
The female holds a sign that says “2,500 homicides per month. Do you care?”. The male holds a sign saying, “82 homicides per day. Do you care?”
Black Lives Matter in other countries
In Brazil, representatives of the movement try to create their brand. “The point is not to copy Americans but to see what they do, what works, to keep watching and trying to adapt this to our Brazilian reality,” says Silvia Nascimento, founder of the first black-owned media in Brazil, Site Mundo Negro, who proclaims a pro-African vision of universal blackness. Black Brazilians fight for the dignity of people of African descent through independent media and peaceful marches. They take to the streets every year in the March against the Black Youth Genocide and the Black Women March. Several famous Brazilians also support this idea.
I believe that many people from the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement want to see a better relationship between the police and communities. There will be people who say things that are reckless or full of generalizations, but you cannot judge everyone in the same way. Using an honest, serious, and respectful tone, has mobilized American society to achieve real change. We hope so.