With the recent untimely deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and Dallas Police officers Brent Thompson, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Smith and Lorne Ahrens, it's important to discuss what the #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) movement is and is not. BLM began in 2013 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. The movement became nationally recognized for its street demonstrations following the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, New York. Since the movement began Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Jonathan Ferrell, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose and Freddie Gray also faced their deaths during a confrontation with police. However, despite many misconceptions being pro-BlackLivesMatter does not in any way mean that supporters are anti-police.
BLM Founder Alicia Garza put their mission this way: "When we say Black Lives Matter, we are talking about the ways in which Black people are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity. It is an acknowledgment that Black poverty and genocide is [an act of] state violence. It is an acknowledgement that 1 million Black people are locked in cages in this country - one half of all people in prisons or jails- is an act of state violence. It is an acknowledgement that Black women continue to bear the burden of a relentless assault on our children and our families and that assault is an act of state violence."
This month we recognize the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment adopted on July 9, 1868 which addressed citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws, and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War. With this mark and BLM's recent protests we encourage our supports to be sure to stay up to date with recent news and take action where they see just and fit. Here are some links that may be helpful.
- To find your local congressman, click here.
- To learn more about #BlackLivesMatter, click here.
- To learn more about the Fourteenth Amendment, click here.