In 2013, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi created a popular movement that divided an already dissented American political landscape. #BlackLivesMatter caused controversy worldwide, cumulating in a general antipathy for the movement, especially among right-wing circles. Their strategic mistake in disrupting a Bernie Sanders’ rally in Seattle, Washington, was used as ammunition against a movement that has never been accepted by mainstream Western consciousness. The message of the Black Lives Matter movement is clear, bold and strong.
“We affirm the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Our network centers those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.
We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.
We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.
The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.”
The movement demanded one final push for complete socio-economic and political equality, freedom and power for the black nation worldwide. Its message was forceful and unapologetic to white America, reminiscent of the passion and power of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, formerly, Malcolm X. Despite its continued presence in the black community in present day, #BlackLivesMatter lost its voice to its ironic creation, #AllLivesMatter. Supporters of #AllLivesMatter failed to take into account the entire lack of privilege afforded to those from poorer socio-economic and less powerful political backgrounds, the global black community being one. It was a strategic political war against the upraised voices of the oppressed, akin to the social wars against first wave, second wave and modern day feminism. The status-quo would not go down without a fight.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement hype might have died down since its days of mass public protest, but it continues to work for the people, and by the people. In 2017, the movement reported their public pressure success in Los Angeles against officers who killed Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin while both parents were sleeping in their car.
Not to mention the attention now surrounding Colin Kaepernick, as his protest against police brutality has sparked a nationwide debate on race politics in American sports.
Indeed, the success of the #BlackLivesMatter movement is woefully understated, and must be corrected. Conservative America is scared, as is conservative Europe. In September 2017, a racist British police officer was caught on camera saying to a black man, “You would be the first one I’d shoot if I had a gun. You’re going to go Black Lives Matter on us, are ya?”
Back in the United States, under President’s Trump’s leadership, black identity is now threat to national security, labelled under the classification of Black Identity Extremism. America is not ready to accept the truth that Black Lives Matter. The #BlackLivesMatter continues to uphold this fundamental truth.