The phrase “Black Lives Matter” was coined by Alicia Garza in 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. It started as a simple hashtag, but in the past eight years, it has become a widespread movement across the United States that has changed the conversation and lens on race in this country.
The Recent Surge in the Black Lives Matter Movement
In May 2020, the video of the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year old black man, was spread around the U.S. through social media. It caused a surge in the Black Lives Matter movement, one that could not be ignored. Protests surrounding the event peaked in June 2020, with between 15 to 26 million people demonstrating, making it the largest movement in U.S. history.
How is This Movement Different From Others?
The impact of these protests has been significant. More people than ever are paying attention to racial disparities and police violence in the U.S., and intergenerational conversations about racial inequalities are taking place. The protests for George Floyd over Summer 2020 generated more media coverage than any protest in 50 years.
These events have also led to a shift in public opinion surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, with organizations such as NASCAR and the NFL supporting the protests. Furthermore, the large-scale public support for protests has set political action in motion. The City Council of Minneapolis (where George Floyd was killed) pledged to dismantle their police department. Additionally, Mississippi lawmakers voted to change their state flag, which features a Confederate emblem.
Many other cities and states in the U.S. have passed new laws banning police chokeholds. New York lawmakers have even repealed a law that kept police disciplinary records secret. These types of policy changes are a great step toward social justice but cannot mark the end of the movement. It is crucial that we continue pushing lawmakers to address social justice issues.
Get Involved with Ally for Justice to Support These Movements
The Black Lives Matter movement has garnered social and political support, but there is still a long way to go. There are many ways for you to get involved and fight for continued reform. If you want to learn more about social justice and racial inequality, contact Ally for Justice today.