Black Lives Matter

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Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter Global Network[1][2]
Official logo depicting name in black capital letters on yellow background with "LIVES" color inverted
FormationJuly 13, 2013; 6 years ago (2013-07-13)
Founders
TypeActivist movement
PurposeAnti-racist advocacy and protest
Location
  • International
    (mostly in the United States)
Key people
Websiteblacklivesmatter.com
Protesters lying down over rail tracks with a "Black Lives Matter" banner
Black Lives Matter die-in protesting alleged police brutality in Saint Paul, Minnesota, September 20, 2015

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.[3] After community-based chapters were formed following the Ferguson unrest of 2014, Black Lives Matter Global Network was established.[4][1] The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, or BLM Global Network Foundation, a nonprofit organization, provides grants to support grassroots organizing work by its chapters.[2] exists as a decentralized network with over 30 chapters in the United States and sister organizations worldwide while a larger Black Lives Matter movement exists consisting of various separate like-minded organizations such as Dream Defenders and Assata's Daughters. The broader movement and its related organizations typically advocate against police violence towards black people, as well as for various other policy changes considered to be related to black liberation.[5]

In 2013, the movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012. The movement became nationally recognized for street demonstrations following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans: Michael Brown—resulting in protests and unrest in Ferguson, a city near St. Louis—and Eric Garner in New York City.[6][7] Since the Ferguson protests, participants in the movement have demonstrated against the deaths of numerous other African Americans by police actions and/or while in police custody. In the summer of 2015, Black Lives Matter activists became involved in the 2016 United States presidential election.[8] The originators of the hashtag and call to action, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, expanded their project into a national network of over 30 local chapters between 2014 and 2016.[9] The overall Black Lives Matter movement is a decentralized network and has no formal hierarchy.[10]

The movement returned to national headlines and gained further international attention[11] during the global George Floyd protests in 2020 following Floyd's death by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. An estimated 15 million to 26 million people participated in the 2020 Black Lives Matters protests in the United States, making Black Lives Matters the largest movement in U.S. history.[12]

Structure and organization

Loose structure

The phrase "Black Lives Matter" can refer to a Twitter hashtag, a slogan, a social movement, or a loose confederation of groups advocating for racial justice. As a movement, Black Lives Matter is decentralized, and leaders have emphasized the importance of local organizing over national leadership.[13] Activist DeRay McKesson has commented that the movement "encompasses all who publicly declare that black lives matter and devote their time and energy accordingly."[14]

In 2013, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi formed the Black Lives Matter Network. Alicia Garza described the network as an online platform that existed to provide activists with a shared set of principles and goals. Local Black Lives Matter chapters are asked to commit to the organization's list of guiding principles but operate without a central structure or hierarchy. Alicia Garza has commented that the Network was not interested in "policing who is and who is not part of the movement."[15][16] Currently, there are approximately 16 Black Lives Matter chapters in the U.S. and Canada.[17]

Notable Black Lives Matter activists include co-founder of the Seattle Black Lives Matter chapter Marissa Johnson, lawyer and president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP Nekima Levy-Pounds.

The loose structure of Black Lives Matter has contributed to confusion in the press and among activists, as actions or statements from chapters or individuals are sometimes attributed to "Black Lives Matter" as a whole.[18][19] Matt Pearce, writing for the Los Angeles Times, commented that "the words could be serving as a political rallying cry or referring to the activist organization. Or it could be the fuzzily applied label used to describe a wide range of protests and conversations focused on racial inequality."[20]

A corporation named "Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc." was incorporated in the State of Delaware on October 16, 2017.[21] That corporation has entered into a fiscal sponsorship agreement with Thousand Currents. In accordance with the agreement, Thousand Currents "provides the legal and administrative framework to enable BLM to fulfill its mission".[22]

A separate organization based in Santa Clarita, California, founded by Robert Ray Barnes named the "Black Lives Matter Foundation" (BLMF) has a 501(c)(3) federal income tax exemption. It reports that its "mission is to help survivors and families that have suffered from the loss of a relative or loved one as a result of an unjust or questionable police shooting, and use our unique and creative ideas to help bring the police and the community closer together to save lives".[23][24] Representatives of the BLM Network have disavowed any connection to BLMF, and each organization claims that their name and concept was stolen by the other.[24] Nonetheless, due to its 501(c)(3) status, many corporations and individuals pledged donations to BLMF through platforms such as Benevity believing it to be part of the better-known movement, although much of the funds raised was not dispersed after the confusion was noted.[24]

Guiding principles

According to the Black Lives Matter website, there are thirteen guiding principles that should apply to those who choose to become involved under the Black Lives Matter banner, among them Diversity, Globalism, Empathy, Restorative justice and Intergenerationality.[25]

Broader movement

Concurrently, a broader movement involving several other organizations and activists emerged under the banner of "Black Lives Matter" as well.[9][26] For example, BLM is a member organization of the Movement for Black Lives established to respond to sustained and increasingly visible violence against black communities in the U.S. and globally.[27] In 2015 Johnetta Elzie, DeRay Mckesson, Brittany Packnett, and Samuel Sinyangwe, initiated Campaign Zero, aimed at promoting policy reforms to end police brutality. The campaign released a ten-point plan for reforms to policing, with recommendations including: ending broken windows policing, increasing community oversight of police departments, and creating stricter guidelines for the use of force.[28] New York Times reporter John Eligon reported that some activists had expressed concerns that the campaign was overly focused on legislative remedies for police violence.[29]

Funding of the movement

Politico reported in 2015 that the Democracy Alliance, a gathering of Democratic-Party donors, planned to meet with leaders of several groups who were endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement, including the Black Youth Project 100, the Black Civic Engagement Fund, the Center for Popular Democracy, Color of Change and the Advancement Project.[30] According to Politico, the donor coalition named Solidaire, focussing on "movement building" and led by Texas oil fortune heir Leah Hunt-Hendrix, a member of the Democracy Alliance, had donated more than 200,000 dollars to the BLM movement by 2015.[30] According to Solidaire's website, donations went to the "Black Lives Matter Network" and the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) "Convening" in 2015,[31] and to M4BL "National Direct Action" in 2016.[32]

In 2016, the Ford Foundation announced plans to fund M4BL in a "six-year investments" plan, further partnering up with the philanthropic intermediary Borealis Philanthropy, the Movement Strategy Center, and Benedict Consulting to found the Black-led Movement Fund.[33][34][35] Borealis Philanthropy lists the "Black Lives Matter Global Network" among other organizations among its grantees.[36]

The sum donated by the Ford Foundation and the other donors to M4BL was reported as 100 million dollars by the Washington Times in 2016; another donation of 33 million dollars to M4BL was reportedly issued by the Open Society Foundations.[37][38] Further donors for the same cause, according to the statement published by the Ford Foundation, appear to be the Hill-Snowden Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Association of Black Foundation Executives, the Neighborhood Funders Group / Funders for Justice, and Anonymous Donors among others.[33]

Policy demands

In 2016, Black Lives Matter and a coalition of 60 organizations affiliated with BLM called for decarceration in the United States, reparations for slavery in the United States, an end to mass surveillance, investment in public education, not incarceration, and community control of the police: empowering residents in communities of color to hire and fire police officers and issue subpoenas, decide disciplinary consequences and exercise control over city funding of police.[39][40]

Strategies and tactics

Black Lives Matter protest against police brutality in St. Paul, Minnesota

Black Lives Matter originally used various social media platforms—including hashtag activism—to reach thousands of people rapidly.[41] Since then, Black Lives Matters has embraced a diversity of tactics.[42]

Internet and social media

In 2014, the American Dialect Society chose #BlackLivesMatter as their word of the year.[43][44] Yes! Magazine picked #BlackLivesMatter as one of the twelve hashtags that changed the world in 2014.[45] Memes are also important in garnering support for the Black Lives Matter new social movement. Information communication technologies such as Facebook and Twitter spread memes and are important tools for garnering web support in hopes of producing a spillover effect into the offline world.[46] However, Blue Lives Matter and other opponents of BLM have also used memes to criticize and parody the movement.[47]

By September 2016, the phrase "Black Lives Matter" had been tweeted over 30 million times,[48] and Black Twitter has been credited with bringing international attention to the BLM movement. Using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has helped activists communicate the scale of their movement to the wider online community and stand in solidarity amongst other participants.[49]

Dr. Khadijah White, a professor at Rutgers University, argues that BLM has ushered in a new era of black university student movements. The ease with which bystanders can record graphic videos of police violence and post them onto social media has driven activism all over the world.[50]

On Wikipedia, a WikiProject dedicated to coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement was created in June 2020.[51]

Direct action

Black Lives Matter demonstration in Oakland, California

BLM generally engages in direct action tactics that make people uncomfortable enough that they must address the issue.[52] BLM has been known to build power through protest and rallies.[53] BLM has also staged die-ins and held one during the 2015 Twin Cities Marathon.[54]

"Hands up!" sign displayed at a Ferguson protest

Political slogans used during demonstrations include the eponymous "Black Lives Matter", "Hands up, don't shoot" (a later discredited reference attributed to Michael Brown[55]), "I can't breathe"[56][57] (referring to Eric Garner), "White silence is violence",[58] "No justice, no peace",[59][60] and "Is my son next?",[61] among others.

According to a 2018 study, "Black Lives Matter protests are more likely to occur in localities where more black people have previously been killed by police."[62]

Media, music, and other cultural impacts

Since the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013 with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter,[63] the movement has been depicted and documented in film, song, television, literature, and the visual arts. A number of media outlets are providing material related to racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement. Published books, novels, and TV shows have increased in popularity in 2020.[64] Songs such as Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us" and Kendrick Lamar's "Alright" have been widely used as a rallying call at demonstrations.[65][66]

The Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc., a global organization in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom,[3] established Black Lives Matter Arts+Culture to add to and maintain cultural awareness of this movement, uplift Black artists, and diversify art institutions in keeping with the "art culture of the Civil rights, Black Power, and Women's rights movements" of the 1960s and 1970s.[67]

The short documentary film Bars4justice features brief appearances by various activists and recording artists affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. The film is an official selection of the 24th Annual Pan African Film Festival. Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement is a 2016 American television documentary film starring Jesse Williams about the Black Lives Matter movement.[68][69]

The February 2015 issue of Essence magazine and the cover was devoted to Black Lives Matter.[70] In December 2015, BLM was a contender for the Time magazine Person of the Year award, coming in fourth of the eight candidates.[71]

Part of the mural reading "Black Lives Matter" painted at Black Lives Matter Plaza, Washington, D.C. in June 2020

A number of cities have painted murals of "Black Lives Matter" in large letters on their streets. The cities include Washington, D.C., Dallas, Denver, Charlotte, Seattle, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Birmingham, Alabama.[72][73]

On May 9, 2016, Delrish Moss was sworn in as the first African-American police chief in Ferguson, where he acknowledges he faces such challenges as diversifying the police force, improving community relations, and addressing issues that catalyzed the Black Lives Matter movement.[74]

Police use of excessive force

According to a study from the Bureau of Justice Statistics from 2002 to 2011, among those who had contact with the police, "blacks (2.8%) were more likely than whites (1.0%) and Hispanics (1.4%) to perceive the threat or use of nonfatal force was excessive."[75]

In 2019, police officers shot and killed 1,001 people. About half of those killed were white, and one quarter were black.[76][77] According to The Washington Post, "The rate at which black Americans are killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans."[76] However, author Heather Mac Donald argues:

That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.[78]

Reaction

There have been many reactions to the Black Lives Matter movement. The U.S. population's perception of Black Lives Matter varies considerably by race.[79] The phrase "All Lives Matter" sprang up as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, but has been criticized for dismissing or misunderstanding the message of "Black Lives Matter".[80][81] Following the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, the hashtag Blue Lives Matter was created by supporters of the police.[82]

A few civil rights leaders have disagreed with tactics used by Black Lives Matter activists.[83][84] Muhammad Ali’s son says his father, who had been the youngest boxer to win the world's heavyweight championship, would have hated Black Lives Matter. He claims that his father, who often gave speeches about civil rights at colleges, would have been sickened by the violence and looting.[85]

Timeline of notable US events and demonstrations

2014

Black Lives Matter protester at Macy's Herald Square
Black Lives Matter protest at Herald Square, Manhattan

In 2014, Black Lives Matter demonstrated against the deaths of numerous African Americans by police actions, including those of Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Laquan McDonald, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Antonio Martin, and Jerame Reid, among others.[86]

In July, Eric Garner died in New York City, after a New York City Police Department officer put him in a banned chokehold while arresting him. Garner's death has been cited as one of several police killings of African Americans that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.[87]

In August, during Labor Day weekend, Black Lives Matter organized a "Freedom Ride", that brought more than 500 African-Americans from across the United States into Ferguson, Missouri, to support the work being done on the ground by local organizations.[88][89] The movement continued to be involved in the Ferguson unrest, following the death of Michael Brown.[90] Also in August, Los Angeles Police Department officers shot and killed Ezell Ford. Following the shooting, BLM protested his death in Los Angeles into 2015.[91]

In November, a New York City Police Department officer shot and killed, Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old African-American man. Gurley's death was later protested by Black Lives Matter in New York City.[92] In Oakland, California, fourteen Black Lives Matter activists were arrested after they stopped a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train for more than an hour on Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The protest, led by Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, was organized in response to the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Mike Brown.[93][94]

Also in November, Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer. Rice's death has also been cited as contributing to "sparking" the Black Lives Matter movement.[87][95][96]

A Black Lives Matter protest of police brutality in the rotunda of the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota

In December, 2,000–3,000 people gathered at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, to protest the killings of unarmed black men by police.[97] At least twenty members of a protest that had been using the slogan were arrested.[98] In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, BLM protested the police shooting of Dontre Hamilton, who died in April.[99] Black Lives Matter protested the shooting of John Crawford III.[100] The shooting of Renisha McBride was protested by Black Lives Matter.[101]

Also in December, in response to the decision by the grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson on any charges related to the death of Michael Brown, a protest march was held in Berkeley, California. Later, in 2015, protesters and journalists who participated in that rally filed a lawsuit alleging "unconstitutional police attacks" on attendees.[102]

2015

A demonstrator, wearing the uniform of the Orioles baseball team on the street in Baltimore

In 2015, Black Lives Matter demonstrated against the deaths of numerous African Americans by police actions, including those of Charley Leundeu Keunang, Tony Robinson, Anthony Hill, Meagan Hockaday, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, William Chapman, Jonathan Sanders, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose, Jeremy McDole, Corey Jones, and Jamar Clark as well Dylan Roof's murder of The Charleston Nine. [103][104]

In March, BLM protested at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, demanding reforms within the Chicago Police Department.[105] Charley Leundeu Keunang, a 43-year-old Cameroonian national, was fatally shot by Los Angeles Police Department officers. The LAPD arrested fourteen following BLM demonstrations.[106]

In April, Black Lives Matter across the United States protested over the death of Freddie Gray which included the 2015 Baltimore protests.[107][108] After the shooting of Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina, Black Lives Matter protested Scott's death and called for citizen oversight of police.[109]

In May, a protest by BLM in San Francisco was part of a nationwide protest, Say Her Name, decrying the police killing of black women and girls, which included the deaths of Meagan Hockaday, Aiyana Jones, Rekia Boyd, and others.[110] In Cleveland, Ohio, after an officer was acquitted at trial in the shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, BLM protested.[111] In Madison, Wisconsin, BLM protested after the officer was not charged in the shooting of Tony Robinson.[112]

Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality at Metro Green Line

In June, after Dylann Roof's shooting in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, BLM issued a statement and condemned the shooting as an act of terror.[113][deprecated source] BLM across the country marched, protested and held vigil for several days after the shooting.[114][115] BLM was part of a march for peace on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in South Carolina.[116] After the Charleston shooting, a number of memorials to the Confederate States of America were graffitied with "Black Lives Matter" or otherwise vandalized.[117][118] Around 800 people protested in McKinney, Texas after a video was released showing an officer pinning a girl—at a pool party in McKinney, Texas—to the ground with his knees.[119]

In July, BLM activists across the United States began protests over the death of Sandra Bland, an African-American woman, who was allegedly found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas.[120][121] In Cincinnati, Ohio, BLM rallied and protested the death of Samuel DuBose after he was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer.[122] In Newark, New Jersey, over a thousand BLM activists marched against police brutality, racial injustice, and economic inequality.[123] Also in July, BLM protested the death of Jonathan Sanders who died while being arrested by police in Mississippi.[124][125]

One-year commemoration of the shooting of Michael Brown and the Ferguson unrest at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York

In August, BLM organizers held a rally in Washington, D.C., calling for a stop to violence against transgender women.[126] In Charlotte, North Carolina, after a judge declared a mistrial in the trial of a white Charlotte police officer who killed an unarmed black man, Jonathan Ferrell, BLM protested and staged die-ins.[127] In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Janelle Monáe, Jidenna, and other BLM activists marched through North Philadelphia to bring awareness to police brutality and Black Lives Matter.[128] Around August 9, the first anniversary of Michael Brown's death, BLM rallied, held vigil and marched in St. Louis and across the country.[129][130]

In September, over five hundred BLM protesters in Austin, Texas rallied against police brutality, and several briefly carried protest banners onto Interstate 35.[131] In Baltimore, Maryland, BLM activists marched and protested as hearings began in the Freddie Gray police brutality case.[132] In Sacramento, California, about eight hundred BLM protesters rallied to support a California Senate bill that would increase police oversight.[133] BLM protested the shooting of Jeremy McDole.[134]

In October, Black Lives Matters activists were arrested during a protest of a police chiefs conference in Chicago.[135] "Rise Up October" straddled the Black Lives Matter Campaign, and brought several protests.[136] Quentin Tarantino and Cornel West, participating in "Rise Up October", decried police violence.[137]

Protest march in response to the Jamar Clark shooting, Minneapolis, Minnesota
An activist holds a "Black Lives Matter" sign outside the Minneapolis Police Fourth Precinct building following the officer-involved shooting of Jamar Clark on November 15, 2015.

In November, BLM activists protested after Jamar Clark was shot by Minneapolis Police Department.[138] A continuous protest was organized at the Minneapolis 4th Precinct Police. During the encamped protest, protesters, and outside agitators clashed with police, vandalized the station and attempted to ram the station with an SUV.[139][140] Later that month a march was organized to honor Jamar Clark, from the 4th Precinct to downtown Minneapolis. After the march, a group of men carrying firearms and body armor[141] appeared and began calling the protesters racial slurs according to a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter. After protesters asked the armed men to leave, the men opened fire, shooting five protesters.[142][143] All injuries required hospitalization, but were not life-threatening. The men fled the scene only to be found later and arrested. The three men arrested were young and white, and observers called them white supremacists.[144][145] In February 2017, one of the men arrested, Allen Scarsella, was convicted of a dozen felony counts of assault and riot in connection with the shooting. Based in part on months of racist messages Scarsella had sent his friends before the shooting, the judge rejected arguments by his defense that Scarsella was "naïve" and sentenced him in April 2017 to 15 years out of a maximum 20-year sentence.[146][147]

From November into 2016, BLM protested the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, calling for the resignation of numerous Chicago officials in the wake of the shooting and its handling. McDonald was shot 16 times by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.[148]

2016

In 2016, Black Lives Matter demonstrated against the deaths of numerous African Americans by police actions, including those of Bruce Kelley Jr., Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Joseph Mann, Abdirahman Abdi, Paul O'Neal, Korryn Gaines, Sylville Smith, Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott, Alfred Olango, and Deborah Danner, among others.

In January, hundreds of BLM protesters marched in San Francisco to protest the December 2, 2015, shooting death of Mario Woods, who was shot by San Francisco Police officers. The march was held during a Super Bowl event.[149] BLM held protests, community meetings, teach-ins, and direct actions across the country with the goal of "reclaim[ing] the radical legacy of Martin Luther King Jr."[150]

In February, Abdullahi Omar Mohamed, a 17-year-old Somali refugee, was shot and injured by Salt Lake City, Utah, police after allegedly being involved in a confrontation with another person. The shooting led to BLM protests.[151]

In June, members of BLM and Color of Change protested the California conviction and sentencing of Jasmine Richards for a 2015 incident in which she attempted to stop a police officer from arresting another woman. Richards was convicted of "attempting to unlawfully take a person from the lawful custody of a peace officer", a charge that the state penal code had designated as "lynching" until that word was removed two months prior to the incident.[152]

On July 5, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot several times at point-blank range while pinned to the ground by two white Baton Rouge Police Department officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On the night of July 5, more than 100 demonstrators in Baton Rouge shouted "no justice, no peace," set off fireworks, and blocked an intersection to protest Sterling's death.[153] On July 6, Black Lives Matter held a candlelight vigil in Baton Rouge, with chants of "We love Baton Rouge" and calls for justice.[154]

On July 6, Philando Castile was fatally shot by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer, after being pulled over in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul. Castile was driving a car with his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter as passengers when he was pulled over by Yanez and another officer.[155] According to his girlfriend, after being asked for his license and registration, Castile told the officer he was licensed to carry a weapon and had one in the car.[156] She stated: "The officer said don't move. As he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm four or five times."[157] She live-streamed a video on Facebook in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Following the fatal shooting of Castile, BLM protested throughout Minnesota and the United States.[158]

Protest march in response to the shooting of Philando Castile, St. Paul, Minnesota on July 7, 2016

On July 7, a BLM protest was held in Dallas, Texas that was organized to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. At the end of the peaceful protest, Micah Xavier Johnson opened fire in an ambush, killing five police officers and wounding seven others and two civilians. The gunman was then killed by a robot-delivered bomb.[159] Before he died, according to police, Johnson said that "he was upset about Black Lives Matter", and that "he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers."[160] Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and other conservative lawmakers blamed the shootings on the Black Lives Matter movement.[161][162] The Black Lives Matter network released a statement denouncing the shootings.[163][164][165] On July 8, more than 100 people were arrested at Black Lives Matter protests across the United States.[166]

Protest in response to the Alton Sterling shooting, San Francisco, California, July 8, 2016

In the first half of July, there were at least 112 protests in 88 American cities.[167] In July 2016, NBA stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade opened the 2016 ESPY Awards with a Black Lives Matter message.[168] On July 26, Black Lives Matter held a protest in Austin, Texas, to mark the third anniversary of the shooting death of Larry Jackson Jr.[169] On July 28, Chicago Police Department officers shot Paul O'Neal in the back and killed him following a car chase.[170] After the shooting, hundred marched in Chicago, Illinois.[171]

In Randallstown, Maryland, near Baltimore, on August 1, 2016, police officers shot and killed Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old African-American woman, also shooting and injuring her son.[172] Gaines' death was protested throughout the country.[173]

In August, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Black Lives Matter protested the death of Bruce Kelley Jr. who was shot after fatally stabbing a police dog while trying to escape from police the previous January.[174]

In August, several professional athletes began participating in National Anthem protests. The protests began in the National Football League (NFL) after Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers sat during the anthem, as opposed to the tradition of standing, before his team's third preseason game of 2016.[175] During a post-game interview he explained his position stating, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,"[176] a protest widely interpreted as in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.[177][178][179] The protests have generated mixed reactions, and have since spread to other U.S. sports leagues.

In September 2016, BLM protested the shooting deaths by police officers of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina.[180][181][182] The Charlotte Observer reported "The protesters began to gather as night fell, hours after the shooting. They held signs that said 'Stop Killing Us' and 'Black Lives Matter,' and they chanted 'No justice, no peace.' The scene was sometimes chaotic and tense, with water bottles and stones chucked at police lines, but many protesters called for peace and implored their fellow demonstrators not to act violently."[183] Multiple nights of protests from September to October 2016 were held in El Cajon, California, following the shooting of Alfred Olango.[184][185]

2017

March against the Yanez not guilty verdict in the shooting of Philando Castile on June 18, 2017

In 2017, in Black History Month, a month-long "Black Lives Matter" art exhibition was organized by three Richmond, Virginia artists at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond in the Byrd Park area of the city. The show featured more than 30 diverse multicultural artists on a theme exploring racial equality and justice.[186]

In the same month Virginia Commonwealth University's James Branch Cabell Library focused on a month-long schedule of events relating to Black history[187] and showed photos from the church's "Black Lives Matter" exhibition on its outdoor screen.[188] The VCU schedule of events also included: the Real Life Film Series The Angry Heart: The Impact of Racism on Heart Disease among African-Americans; Keith Knight presented the 14th Annual VCU Libraries Black History Month lecture; Lawrence Ross, author of the book Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America's Campuses talked about how his book related to the "Black Lives Matter" movement; and Velma P. Scantlebury, M.D., the first black female transplant surgeon in the United States, discussed "Health Equity in Kidney Transplantation: Experiences from a surgeon's perspective."

Black Lives Matter protested the shooting of Jocques Clemmons which occurred in Nashville, Tennessee on February 10, 2017.[189] On May 12, 2017, a day after Glenn Funk, the district attorney of Davidson County decided not to prosecute police officer Joshua Lippert, the Nashville chapter of BLM held a demonstration near the Vanderbilt University campus all the way to the residence of Nashville mayor Megan Barry.[190][191]

On September 27, 2017, at the College of William & Mary, students associated with Black Lives Matter protested an ACLU event because the ACLU had fought for the right of Unite the Right rally to be held in Charlottesville, Virginia.[192] William & Mary's president Taylor Reveley responded with a statement defending the college's commitment to open debate.[193][194]

2018

In February and March, as part of its social justice focus, First Unitarian Church Church of Richmond, Virginia in Richmond, Virginia presented its Second Annual Black Lives Matter Art Exhibition.[195] Works of art in the exhibition were projected at scheduled hours on the large exterior screen (jumbotron) at Virginia Commonwealth University's Cabell Library. Artists with art in the exhibition were invited to discuss their work in the Black Lives Matter show as it was projected at an evening forum in a small amphitheater at VCU's Hibbs Hall. They were also invited to exhibit afterward at a local showing of the film A Raisin in the Sun.

In April 2018, CNN reported that the largest Facebook account claiming to be a part of the "Black Lives Matter" movement was a "scam" tied to a white man in Australia. The account, with 700,000 followers, linked to fundraisers that raised $100,000 or more, purportedly for U.S. Black Lives Matter causes; however, some of the money was instead transferred to Australian banks accounts, according to CNN. Facebook has suspended the offending page.[196][197][198]

2020

On February 23, Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old African-American man, was fatally shot while jogging in Glynn County, Georgia.[199] Arbery had been pursued and confronted by three white residents driving two vehicles, including a father and son who were armed.[200] All three men have been indicted on nine counts, including felony murder.[201]

On March 13, Louisville police officers knocked down the apartment door of 26-year-old African American Breonna Taylor, serving a no-knock search warrant for drug suspicions. Police fired several shots during the encounter which led to her death. Her boyfriend who was present at the time had called 911 and said, "someone kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend".[202] Protests were held in Louisville with calls for police reform.[203]

On May 25, Christian Cooper, a black bird watcher at New York's Central Park experienced a confrontation with a white woman after he asked her to put her dog on a leash in the Ramble, a no-dogs-off-leash area. The interaction escalated when the white woman called the police to say that an African American man was threatening her.[204][205]

George Floyd protests

May 30, 2020. Lafayette Square, Washington D.C. George Floyd protest.

At the end of May, spurred on by a rash of racially charged events including those above, over 450 major protests[206][207] were held in cities and towns across the United States and three continents.[208] The breaking point was due primarily to the police killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin,[209] eventually charged with second degree murder after a video circulated showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd pleaded for his life, repeating, "I can't breathe."[210][211] Following protesters' demands for additional prosecutions, three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder.[212]

Protests in May, 2020, after George Floyd's death
"Black Lives Matter", on the facade of the Washington National Cathedral, 10 June 2020

Black Lives Matter organized rallies in the United States and worldwide[213] from May 30 onwards,[214][215] with protesters enacting Floyd's final moments, many lying down in streets and on bridges, yelling "I can't breathe," while others marched by the thousands, some carrying signs that read, "Tell your brother in blue, don't shoot"—"Who do you call when the murderer wears a badge?" and "Justice for George Floyd."[216] While global in nature and supported by several unassociated organizations, the Black Lives Matter movement has been inextricably linked to these monumental protests.[217] Black Lives Matter called to "Defund the Police", a slogan with varying interpretations from police abolition to divestment from police and prisons to reinvestment in social services in communities of color.[218]

On June 5, 2020, Washington, D.C.'s Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that part of the street outside of the White House had been officially renamed to Black Lives Matter Plaza posted with a street sign.[219]

On June 7, 2020, in the wake of global George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter's call to "Defund the Police", the Minneapolis City Council voted to "disband its police department" to shift funding to social programs in communities of color. City Council President Lisa Bender said, "Our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period." The council vote came after the Minneapolis Public Schools, the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Parks and Recreation cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department.[220]

BLM international movement

Black Lives Matter protest at Union Square, Manhattan
Black Lives Matter protest in Berlin, Germany, May 30, 2020
Black Lives Matter protest in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, June 13, 2020

In 2015, after the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, black activists around the world modeled efforts for reform on Black Lives Matter and the Arab Spring.[41][221] This international movement has been referred to as the "Black Spring".[222][223] Connections have also been forged with parallel international efforts such as the Dalit rights movement.[224]

Australia

Following the death of Ms Dhu in police custody in August 2014, protests often made reference to the BLM movement.[225][226] In July 2016, a BLM rally was organized in Melbourne, Australia, which 3,500 people attended. The protest also emphasized the issues of mistreatment of Aboriginal Australians by the Australian police and government.[227]

In May 2017, Black Lives Matter was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize, which "honours a nominee who has promoted 'peace with justice', human rights and non-violence".[228]

In early June 2020, following the recent George Floyd protests in the US, there were protests across Australia, with many of them focusing on the local issue of Aboriginal deaths in custody, racism in Australia and other injustices faced by Indigenous Australians.[229]

Canada

In July 2015, BLM protesters shut down Allen Road in Toronto, Ontario, protesting the shooting deaths of two black men in the metropolitan area—Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby—at the hands of police.[230] In September, BLM activists shut down streets in Toronto, citing police brutality and solidarity with "marginalized black lives" as reason for the shutdown. Black Lives Matter was a featured part of the Take Back the Night event in Toronto.[231]

In June 2016, Black Lives Matter was selected by Pride Toronto as the honored group in that year's Pride parade, during which they staged a sit-in to block the parade from moving forward for approximately half an hour.[232] They issued several demands for Pride to adjust its relationship with LGBTQ people of color, including stable funding and a suitable venue for the established Blockorama event, improved diversity in the organization's staff and volunteer base, and that Toronto Police officers be banned from marching in the parade in uniform.[233] Pride executive director Mathieu Chantelois signed BLM's statement of demand, but later asserted that he had signed it only to end the sit-in and get the parade moving, and had not agreed to honour the demands.[234]

In late August 2016, the Toronto chapter protested outside the Special Investigations Unit in Mississauga in response to the death of Abdirahman Abdi, who died during an arrest in Ottawa.[235]

The other focal point of the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada is addressing issues, racism and other injustices faced by Indigenous Canadians.[236][237][238][239]

New Zealand

On June 1, 2020, several BLM solidarity protests in response to the death of George Floyd were held in several New Zealand cities including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Tauranga, Palmerston North and Hamilton.[240][241][242][243] The Auckland event, which attracted between 2,000 and 4,000 participants, was organised by several members of New Zealand's African community. Auckland organiser Mahlete Tekeste, African-American expatriate Kainee Simone, and sportsperson Israel Adesanya compared racism, mass incarceration, and police violence against African Americans to the over-representation of Māori and Pacific Islanders in New Zealand prisons, the controversial armed police response squad trials, and existing racism against minorities in New Zealand including the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. Hip hop artist and music producer Mazbou Q also called on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to condemn violence against black Americans.[244]

The left-wing Green Party, a member of the Labour-led coalition government, has also expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement, linking the plight of African Americans to the racism, inequality, and higher incarceration rate experienced by the Māori and Pasifika communities. The BLM protests in New Zealand attracted criticism from Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters for violating the country's COVID-19 pandemic social distancing regulations banning mass gatherings of over 100 people.[245]

United Kingdom

On August 4, 2016, BLM protesters blocked London Heathrow Airport in London, England. Several demonstrators chained themselves together and lay against the motorway leading to the airport.[246][247] Ten people were arrested in connection with the incident. There were also BLM-themed protests in other English cities including Birmingham and Nottingham. The UK-held protests marked the fifth anniversary of the shooting death of Mark Duggan.[248]

On June 25, 2017, BLM supporters protested in Stratford, London over the death of Edson Da Costa, who died in police custody. There were no arrests made at the protest.[249][250]

Black Lives Matter UK has worked with the coalition Wretched of the Earth to represent the voices of indigenous people and people of color in the climate justice movement.[251]

Black Lives Matter UK held protests in 2020 in support of the Black Lives Matter protests in the USA. London protests took place in Trafalgar Square on May 31, Hyde Park on June 3, Parliament Square on June 6, and outside the US Embassy on June 7. Similar protests took place in Manchester, Bristol, and Cardiff.[252] The UK protests not only showed solidarity with USA protesters, they also commemorated black people who have died in the UK, with protesters chanting, carrying signs, and sharing social media posts with names of victims including Julian Cole,[253] Belly Mujinga,[254] Nuno Cardoso,[255] Sarah Reed,[256] and more.

On June 7, 2020 protests continued in many towns and cities.[257] During a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol, the city centre statue of Edward Colston, a philanthropist, politician and slave trader, was pulled down by protesters, rolled along the road and pushed into Bristol Harbour.[258] The act was later condemned by Home Secretary Priti Patel who said "This hooliganism is utterly indefensible."[259]

In London, after it was defaced a few days earlier,[260] protesters defaced the statue of Winston Churchill, Parliament Square, Westminster with graffiti for a second time. Black spray paint was sprayed over his name and the words "was a racist" were sprayed underneath.[259] A protester also attempted to burn the Union Jack Flag flying at the Cenotaph, a memorial to Britain's war dead.[261] Later in the evening violence broke out between protesters and Police. A total of 49 Police Officers were injured after demonstrators threw bottles and fireworks at them.[262]

Over the weekend, a total of 135 arrests were made by Police.[257] British Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the events saying "those who attack public property or the police – who injure the police officers who are trying to keep us all safe – those people will face the full force of the law; not just because of the hurt and damage they are causing, but because of the damage they are doing to the cause they claim to represent.[263]

Peaceful protests took place in Leeds' Millennium Square on 14 June 2020[264] organised by a coalition of organisations: Black Voices Matter', which included Black Lives Matter Leeds.[265] A second protest was held on Woodhouse Moor on 21 June, organised by Black Lives Matter Leeds.[266]

On 18 June 2020, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab aroused controversy when he said in a radio interview that the "taking the knee" gesture associated with Black Lives Matter "feels to me like a symbol of subjugation and subordination, rather than one of liberation and emancipation", and suggested that it had originated in the TV series Game of Thrones.[267][268][269][270]

On 28 June 2020, Black Lives Matter UK faced criticism for making a series of tweets from their verified Twitter account regarding Israel, including one that claims "mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism".[271] The Premier League, who are carrying the Black Lives Matter logo on their football shirts for the rest of the 2019/20 season, subsequently said that attempts by groups to hijack the cause to suit their own political ends are entirely unwelcome.[272] The BBC banned presenters and guests from wearing Black Lives Matter badges on air to avoid showing “visual symbols of support” for Black Lives Matter on screen. [273]

Germany

On June 6, 2020, tens of thousands of people gathered across Germany to support the Black Lives Matter movement.[274]

Denmark

In Denmark, an organization named Black Lives Matter Denmark was in 2016 founded by Bwalya Sørensen [da], a woman from Zambia that came to Denmark when she was 19 years old. The organization is centered around Sørensen and mainly focus on rejected asylum seekers and criminals foreigners sentenced to expulsion from Denmark.[275] The connection to the US organization is unclear, but Sørensen have said she was encouraged be someone in the US to start a Danish chapter, and that she in 2017 were visited by US co-founder Opal Tometi.[276] As of June 2020, the Danish organization is not listed as a chapter on the Black Lives Matter website.[277]

In June 2020, following the death of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter Denmark held a demonstration in Copenhagen that attracted 15,000 participants. Following the demonstration, the organization and Sørensen in particular received much criticism because rules separated people by ethnicity: at the demonstration, only black people could be in front, and white people were disallowed to participate in some chants.[278][279] Other controversy included Sørensen refusing to co-host a demonstration with Amnesty International because their employees were white,[280] and illegally raising money while calling the missing permit for "civil disobedience".[281] Sørensen herself have been criticized for splitting the movement with her confrontational style.[275][282]

A new organization named Afro Danish Collective was announced in June 2020, with Roger Matthisen [da], former member of the Folketing for The Alternative, as spokesperson. The organization has similar goals as Black Lives Matter Denmark, but will take a more moderate approach, including not distinguishing between people at demonstrations based on their skin color.[283][276] Matthisen said Afro Danish Collective was in part established because the leadership of Black Lives Matter Denmark had not been professional enough.[283]

Japan

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, several demonstrations took place in Japan, including a 1,000-person demonstration in Osaka on June 7, 2020,[284] and a 3,500-person march through the streets of Shibuya and Harajuku areas of Tokyo on June 14, 2020.[285]

2016 US presidential election

Bern Machine with a BLM sticker, September 18, 2015

Primaries

Democrats

At the Netroots Nation Conference in July 2015, dozens of Black Lives Matter activists took over the stage at an event featuring Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders. Activists, including Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, asked both candidates for specific policy proposals to address deaths in police custody.[286] The protesters chanted several slogans, including "if I die in police custody, burn everything down". After conference organizers pleaded with the protesters for several minutes, O'Malley responded by pledging to release a wide-ranging plan for criminal justice reform. Protesters later booed O'Malley when he stated "Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter."[287] O'Malley later apologized for his remarks, saying that he did not mean to disrespect the black community.[287]

Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter activists in Westlake Park, Seattle

On August 8, 2015, a speech by Democratic presidential candidate and civil rights activist Bernie Sanders was disrupted by a group who would go on to found the Seattle Chapter of Black Lives Matter including chapter co-founder Marissa Johnson[288] who walked onstage, seized the microphone from him and called his supporters racists and white supremacists.[289][290][291] Sanders issued a platform in response.[292] Nikki Stephens, the operator of a Facebook page called "Black Lives Matter: Seattle" issued an apology to Sanders' supporters, claiming these actions did not represent her understanding of BLM. She was then sent messages by members of the Seattle Chapter which she described as threatening, and was forced to change the name of her group to "Black in Seattle". The founders of Black Lives Matter stated that they had not issued an apology.[293] In August 2015, the Democratic National Committee passed a resolution supporting Black Lives Matter.[294]

In the first Democratic primary debate, the presidential candidates were asked whether black lives matter or all lives matter.[295] In reply, Bernie Sanders stated, "Black lives matter."[295] Martin O'Malley said, "Black lives matter," and that the "movement is making is a very, very legitimate and serious point, and that is that as a nation we have undervalued the lives of black lives, people of color."[296] In response, Hillary Clinton pushed for criminal justice reform, and said, "We need a new New Deal for communities of color."[297] Jim Webb, on the other hand, replied: "As the president of the United States, every life in this country matters."[295] Hillary Clinton was not directly asked the same question, but was instead asked: "What would you do for African Americans in this country that President Obama couldn't?"[298] Clinton had already met with Black Lives Matter representatives, and emphasized what she described as a more pragmatic approach to enacting change, stating "Look, I don't believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws". Without policy change, she felt "we'll be back here in 10 years having the same conversation."[299] In June 2015, Clinton used the phrase "all lives matter" in a speech about the opportunities of young people of color, prompting backlash that she may misunderstand the message of "Black Lives Matter."[300][301]

A week after the first Democratic primary debate was held in Las Vegas, BLM launched a petition targeted at the DNC and its chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz demanding more debates, and "specifically for a #BlackLivesMatter themed Presidential debate."[302][303] The petition received over 10,000 signatures within 24 hours of being launched,[304] and had over 33,000 signatures as of October 27, 2015.[305] The DNC said that it would permit presidential candidates to attend a presidential town hall organized by activists, but that it would not add another debate to its official schedule.[306] In response, the organization released a press statement on its Facebook page stating that "[i]n consultation with our chapters, our communities, allies, and supporters, we remain unequivocal that a Presidential Town Hall with support from the DNC does not sufficiently respond to the concerns raised by our members", continuing to demand a full additional debate.[304]

After the first debate, in October 2015, a speech by Hillary Clinton on criminal justice reform and race at Atlanta University Center was interrupted by BLM activists.[307]

In February 2016, two Black Lives Matters activists protested at a private fundraiser for Clinton about statements she made in 1996 in which she referred to young people as "super-predators". One of the activists wanted Clinton to apologize for "mass incarceration" in connection with her support for her husband, then-President Bill Clinton's 1994 criminal reform law.[308]

Republicans

Republican candidates have been mostly critical of BLM. In August 2015, Ben Carson, the only African American vying for the Republican nomination for the presidency, called the movement "silly".[309] Carson also said that BLM should care for all black lives, not just a few.[310] In the first Republican presidential debate, which took place in Cleveland, one question referenced Black Lives Matter.[311] In response to the question, Scott Walker advocated for the proper training of law enforcement[311] and blamed the movement for rising anti-police sentiment,[312] while Marco Rubio was the first candidate to publicly sympathize with the movement's point of view.[313]

In August 2015, activists chanting "Black Lives Matter" interrupted the Las Vegas rally of Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush.[314] As Bush exited early, some of his supporters started responding to the protesters by chanting "white lives matter" or "all lives matter".[315]

Several conservative pundits have labeled the movement a "hate group".[316] Candidate Chris Christie, the New Jersey Governor, criticized President Obama for supporting BLM, stating that the movement calls for the murder of police officers.[317] Christie's statement was condemned by New Jersey chapters of the NAACP and ACLU.[318]

BLM activists also called on the Republican National Committee to have a presidential debate focused on issues of racial justice.[319] The RNC, however, declined to alter their debate schedule, and instead also supported a townhall or forum.[306]

In November 2015, a BLM protester was physically assaulted at a Donald Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama. In response, Trump said, "maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing."[320] Trump had previously threatened to fight any Black Lives Matter protesters if they attempted to speak at one of his events.[321]

Anti-Trump protest in NYC, beginning of day, March 19, 2016

In March 2016, Black Lives Matter helped organize the 2016 Donald Trump Chicago rally protest that forced Trump to cancel the event.[322][323] Four individuals were arrested and charged in the incident. Two were "charged with felony aggravated battery to a police officer and resisting arrest", one was "charged with two misdemeanor counts of resisting and obstructing a peace officer", and the fourth "was charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing a peace officer".[324] A CBS reporter was one of those arrested outside the rally. He was charged with resisting arrest.[325]

General election

A group called Mothers of the Movement, which includes the mothers of Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and other mothers whose "unarmed African-American children have been killed by law enforcement or due to gun violence,"[326] addressed the 2016 Democratic National Convention on July 26.[327][328]

Commenting on the first of 2016 presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, some media outlets characterized Clinton's references to implicit bias and systemic racism[329] as speaking "the language of the Black Lives Matter movement,"[330] while others pointed out neither Clinton nor Trump used the words "Black Lives Matter."[331]

In a Washington Post op-ed, DeRay Mckesson endorsed Hillary Clinton, because her "platform on racial justice is strong". He articulated that voting alone is not the only way to bring about "transformational change". He said that "I voted my entire life, and I was still tear-gassed in the streets of St. Louis and Baltimore. I voted my entire life, and those votes did not convict the killers of Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray or Michael Brown".[332][333]

Counter-slogans and movements

"All Lives Matter"

The phrase "All Lives Matter" sprang up as response to the Black Lives Matter movement, shortly after the movement gained national attention.[81][334] Several notable individuals have supported All Lives Matter. Its proponents include Senator Tim Scott.[335] NFL cornerback Richard Sherman supports the All Lives Matter message, saying "I stand by what I said that All Lives Matter and that we are human beings."[336] According to an August 2015 telephone poll, 78% of likely American voters said that the statement "all lives matter" was closest to their own personal views when compared to "black lives matter" or neither. Only 11% said that the statement "black lives matter" was closest. Nine percent said that neither statement reflected their own personal point of view.[337]

External image
"All Houses Matter", Chainsawsuit, Kris Straub, July 7, 2016. Cartoonist uses a house fire to illustrate why critics see "All Lives Matter" as problematic.[80]

According to professor David Theo Goldberg, "All Lives Matter" reflects a view of "racial dismissal, ignoring, and denial".[338] Founders have responded to criticism of the movement's exclusivity, saying, "#BlackLivesMatter doesn't mean your life isn't important – it means that black lives, which are seen without value within White supremacy, are important to your liberation."[339] President Barack Obama spoke to the debate between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter.[340] Obama said, "I think that the reason that the organizers used the phrase Black Lives Matter was not because they were suggesting that no one else's lives matter ... rather what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African American community that's not happening in other communities." He also said "that is a legitimate issue that we've got to address."[52]

"Blue Lives Matter"

A sign at one of the George Floyd protests

Blue Lives Matter is a countermovement in the United States advocating that those who are prosecuted and convicted of killing law enforcement officers should be sentenced under hate crime statutes.[341]It was started in response to Black Lives Matter after the homicides of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn, New York on December 20, 2014.[342] Following the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson and in response to BLM, the hashtag #BlueLivesMatter was created by supporters of the police.[82] Following this, Blue Lives Matter became a pro-police officer movement in the United States. It expanded after the killings of American police officers.[343]

Criticized by the ACLU and others, the movement inspired a state law in Louisiana that made it a hate crime to target police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical service personnel.[344][9]

"White Student Union" Facebook groups

In response to BLM, Facebook pages emerged purporting to represent "White Student Unions" on college campuses in the United States.[345] The pages often promise a "safe space" for white students and condemn alleged anti-white racism on campus. The New York Times reported in 2015: "Whether the Facebook groups were started by students at the universities or by an outside group seeking to stir up debate is unclear."[346] Representatives of the schools as well as some students have said that the groups do not represent their values. Other students complained that attempts by the universities to remove these pages are a violation of free speech.[345]

"White Lives Matter"

White Lives Matter is an activist group created in response to Black Lives Matter. In August 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center added "White Lives Matter" to its list of hate groups.[347][348] The group has also been active in the United Kingdom.[349] The "White Lives Matter" slogan was chanted by torch-wielding alt-right protesters during the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. On October 28, 2017, numerous 'White Lives Matter' rallies broke out in Tennessee. Dominated in Shelbyville particularly, protesters justified their movement in response to the increasing number of immigrants and refugees to Middle Tennessee.[350]

Criticism of "Black Lives Matter"

Tactics

Some black civil rights leaders, such as Rev. Cecil "Chip" Murray, Najee Ali, and Earl Ofari Hutchinson, have criticized the tactics of BLM.[83] Author and minister Barbara Ann Reynolds has criticized the confrontational tactics of BLM.[84] Cheryl Selby the mayor of Olympia, Washington, and a supporter of BLM, claimed members of Black Lives Matter vandalized her home and said "It’s like domestic terrorism. It’s unfair. It hurts when you’re giving so much to your community."[351][352][353][354]

Alleged false narrative of racial bias

Some critics accuse Black Lives Matter of creating a false narrative of racial bias in police violence.[355][78] Author Sam Harris has criticized Black Lives Matter, saying, "the messaging of this movement about the reality of police violence is wrong, and it's creating a public hysteria."[356] Harris argued that the data does not support the movement's claims about racial differences in police violence, blaming social media for making us "unable to distinguish fact from fiction–and then becoming totally destabilized by our powers of imagination, and confirmation bias, and then lashing out at one [an]other on that basis."[356]

Views on law enforcement

Some critics accuse Black Lives Matter of being anti-police.[357] Sgt. Demetrick Pennie of the Dallas Police Department filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against Black Lives Matter in September 2016, which accused the group of inciting a "race war."[358][359] Marchers using a BLM banner were recorded in a video chanting, "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon" at the Minnesota State Fair. Law enforcement groups said that the chant promotes death to police. The protest organizer disputed that interpretation, saying "What we are promoting is that if black people who kill police officers are going to fry, then we want police officers to face the same treatment that we face as civilians for killing officers."[360] A North Carolina police chief retired after calling BLM a terrorist group.[361] A police officer in Oregon was removed from street duty following a social media post in which he said he would have to "babysit these fools", in reference to a planned BLM event.[362]

Ferguson effect

Ferguson, Missouri, August 17, 2014

Sam Dotson, chief of the St. Louis Police Department, coined the term "Ferguson effect" to describe what he believed was a change in enforcement behavior following the shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent unrest. According to Dotson, his officers were less active in enforcing the law because they were afraid they might be charged with breaking the law.[363] FBI Director James Comey suggested that the Black Lives Matter movement is partly leading to a national rise in crime rates because police officers have pulled back from doing their jobs.[364] A study published by the Justice Department said there was an increase in homicides in 56 large cities over the course of 2015, and examined the "Ferguson effect" as one of three plausible explanations.[365][366][367] Other researchers have looked for this "Ferguson effect" in the rise in crime rates and failed to find evidence for it on a national level.[368][369][370] A report over the increased homicide rate in St. Louis concluded there was an "absence of credible and comprehensive evidence" for the Ferguson effect being responsible for that city's homicide increase.[371]

Lack of focus on intraracial violence

John McWhorter wrote that the Black Lives Matter movement had "done the nation a service" by bringing national attention to police killings of unarmed African Americans, and he encouraged it to expand its focus to include "black-on-black crime".[372]

In response, it has been noted that there are already many movements active against violence within the black community.[373] Others have commented that it is reasonable to hold sworn police officers to higher standards than criminals.[374] It has also been pointed out that considerable resources are already deployed to combat violence by civilians (including intraracial violence), with most such acts resulting in efforts to prosecute the perpetrator; in contrast, very few cases of police violence result in criminal accusations, let alone convictions.[375] Others criticize the term 'black-on-black violence' as it may imply that such violence is due to the black race itself, as opposed to various confounding factors. In reality, the proportion of intraracial murders is almost the same among blacks and whites in the United States[376] with less than ten percentage points of difference in one-on-one attacks where the races were reported.[377]

Criticism by Rudy Giuliani

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that Black Lives Matter is "inherently racist" and called the movement anti-American. According to Giuliani, the BLM movement divides people and exacerbates racial tensions. Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza replied, "What those comments show me is that the former mayor doesn't understand racism," adding that his comments were "not rooted in fact."[378][379] Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart wrote that Giuliani's comments reinforced his sense that the former mayor lives in a "racial world of make-believe".[380]

Insufficient focus on women

Women from within the Black Lives Matter movement, including professor and civil rights, advocate Treva B. Lindsey, have argued that BLM has sidelined black women's experiences in favor of black men's experiences. For example, some argue[who?] that more demonstrations have been organized to protest the killings of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin than the killings of Kayla Moore or Rekia Boyd.[381]

In response, Say Her Name was founded to focus specifically on the killing of black women by police and to bring their names into the Black Lives Matter protest. Their stated goal is to offer a more complete, but not competing, narrative with the overall Black Lives Matter movement.[382][383]

Financial transparency issues

Some observers have stated that the Black Lives Matter nonprofit does not adequately disclose what their financial contributions are spent on. Executives from Black Lives Matter have denied that it uses ActBlue to donate to the Democratic National Committee. In an AskReddit thread, Black Lives Matter indicated that their expenditures include "… civic engagement, expansion of chapters, Arts & Culture, organizing and digital advocacy resources and tools."[384]

Polls

The US population's perception of Black Lives Matter varies considerably by race. According to a September 2015 poll on race relations, nearly two-thirds of African Americans mostly agree with Black Lives Matter, while 42% of white Americans are unsure or do not have an opinion about Black Lives Matter.[79] Of white people surveyed, 41% thought that Black Lives Matter advocated violence, and 59% of whites thought that Black Lives Matter distracted attention from the real issues of racial discrimination. By comparison, 84% of black people polled thought that Black Lives Matter was a nonviolent movement, and 26% of blacks thought that Black Lives Matter distracted attention from the real issues of racial discrimination. On the question of whether "Black Lives Matter" was mostly a movement or mostly a slogan, 46% of whites and 67% of blacks thought that it is mostly a movement.[79][385] A similar poll in June 2016 found that 65% of black American adults supported Black Lives Matter and 40% of white American adults support it. Fifty-nine percent of black Americans thought that Black Lives Matter would "be effective, in the long run, in helping blacks achieve equality" and 34% of white Americans thought so.[386][387] A 2017 Harvard-Harris survey found that 35% of whites and 83% of blacks have a favorable view of the movement.[388]

2020

With the resurgence of Black Lives Matter in national headlines amid global protests, the movement has seen an increase in support in 2020.[389][390] Although they began from different perspectives, as per the New York Times' The Upshot, "all kinds of voters moved sharply in the direction of supporting the movement" just within the two weeks between late May and early June "as much as [they] had in the preceding two years."[390] Similarly, the Pew Research Center reports that "[m]ost Americans express support for the Black Lives Matter movement."[391] Protests led by Black Lives Matter eventually developed into a larger movement, with some crediting the organization as starting the Early 21st-century civil rights movement.[392]

See also

References

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  6. ^ Day, Elizabeth (July 19, 2015). "#BlackLivesMatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement". The Guardian. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
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