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Black Lives Matter:
An Affirmation, A Movement
This section aims to provide information about what Black Lives Matter is as a movement, an organization, and as an affrimation to end police violence and anti-black racism at all levels of society.
The Black Lives Matter Hashtag
The hashtag "Black Lives Matter" was created in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. The hashtag has since been used in protests and social media posts as a rallying cry and slogan. Use of the slogan in protests or on social media is public domain and does not constitute direct affiliation with the Black Lives Matter organization or policy platform of the Movement for Black Lives. The hashtag has created online dialogue and action around racial justice and confronting anti-black racism.
The Black Lives Matter Organization
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization is a 501c3 chapter-based organization with over 25 chapters nationwide. It was founded in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. The BLM Chapter in Minnesota is Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.
The Movement for Black Lives & The Vision for Black Lives Policy Platform
The Movement for Black Lives is a "collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country that have come together with renewed energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda." In August 2016, the collective released a "Vision for Black Lives,
Black Lives Matter As an Affirmation
The words "Black Lives Matter" call us to recognize that the root causes of staggering inequalities and violence against black bodies stems from a system that functions on the premise that black lives DON'T matter in a world where ALL lives SHOULD matter.
Black Lives Matter has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny, criticism, and confusion since its founding. Many activists and allies have been put in difficult positions of having to defend BLM and debunk countless myths and misinformation. Responding to "All Lives Matter","Blue Lives Matter", or retorts of "black on black" crime has taken up quite a bit of airtime and there are some resources below to help think and talk through these statements with others.
Since the recent murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the subsequent outrcy and protest that has swept the nation, "Black Lives Matter" has become an even more widespread rallying cry for justice.
"Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression."
~ Alicia Garza, co-founder of BLM
Black Lives Matter As an Call to Action
Saying "black lives matter" is not racist, divisive, or immflamatory. It is an important affirmation of love and recognition. It also helps reveal all the ways in which injustice continues to impact communities of color well beyond police violence. This affirmation has created important activism and growing interventions that link criminal justice, socioeconomic class, labor rights, advocacy for transgender and gender-queer people of color, environmental racism, healthcare disparaties, education inequalities, segregation and legacies of redlining in our cities, transportation disparities, food justice, and immigration. The affirmation "black lives matter" is meant to help us see the connections and to actively include racial justice in our many social justice struggles. Please visit the "Intersectional Racial Justice" section for more information on these crucial connections.
Please explore the information below to learn more about Black Lives Matter's work and activism. This is by no means an exhaustive resource on Black Lives Matter. We encourage you all you stay updated and connected to the Black Lives Matter Organziation and the Movement for Black Lives directly through their offical websites.
The Matter of Black Lives (The New Yorker)
What Black Lives Matter Achieved in 2015 (The Atlantic)
A Year of Black Lives Mattering (Diversity Council, Rochester MN)
Why is it so controversial when people say "All Lives Matter" instead of "Black Lives Matter" (GeekAesthete, Reddit)
What's Wrong With 'All Lives Matter' by Judith Butler & George Yancey (The New York Times)
Black Lives Matter, Respectability & the Civil Rights Movement
To some, the BLM movement can seem quite different from the struggles and activism of the 1960s. The articles and books below discuss some of the debates around "respectability" and comparisons between BLM and the 1960s Civil Rights movement. It is important to keep in mind that social movements are always evolving, learning from the past, and adapting and responding to current needs and realities.
Black Lives Matter, Redlining, & the Longs Shadow of History (The DePaulia)
Black Lives Matter & America's Long History of Resisting Civil Rights Protesters (The Washington Post)
The Rise of Respectability Politics (Dissent Magazine)
The Rift Between Respectability Politics & The New Protest Movement (Atlanta Black Star)
The End of Black Respectability Politics (Talking Points Memo)
The Definition, Danger, and Disease of Respectability Politics (The Root) Note: some strong language
The Forgotten Radical History of the March on Washinton (Dissent Magazine)
Book: The Civils Rights Revolution by Bruce Ackerman
James Baldwin Tells Us all How to Cool It This Summer (Esquire Magazine)
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