Media Stop

Published on July 6th, 2020 | by Jerry Doby

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A Change Is Gonna Come?

The Black Lives Movement started in 2013, after the tragic death of Trayvon Martin when the white man who shot him was acquitted. It all started with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on different social media platforms, especially Twitter, but also on Facebook. It was a much-needed revolt from people who had to endure this for years.

In 2014, the movement drew nationwide attention as people started demonstrating on the streets of several American cities, after Michael Brown and Eric Garner were killed, the first one in Ferguson, near St. Louis, and the former in New York City. Both were African-American.

The Ferguson protests, especially, draw noticeable attention, even from the international media, and were even referenced in songs by The Game, J. Cole and Madonna. But the media focused less on the innocent lives that were lost and more on the riots that were taking place, thus completely missing the point.

Following the Ferguson protests, people who support the movement started to demonstrate against the killings of many African Americans at the hand of white police officers or while in police custody. Starting with 2015, the Black Lives Matter activists even became involved in the presidential election that was to follow.

Who started the movement?

The Black Lives Matter is a human rights movement that has now gained international fame and support. BLM appeared as a result of the African American community raising their voice against the brutal killing of people in the community by law enforcement forces, while also protesting systemic racism in the USA toward black people.

BLM organizes protests in which they speak out against various issues that affect the African American community, such as racial profiling, racial inequality in the criminal justice system, the abusive and brutal way the police is handling people from the black community, and the murder of people who didn’t posses a threat to anybody’s safety.

The people who started the movement are Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors, who expanded the project from a hashtag to a nationwide network of more than 30 local chapters in just two years, showing the much-needed existence of this organization. Still, there is no formal hierarchy in this group.

While black people never forgot about the existence of this group, it wasn’t until this year that BLM took off like never before, after several black people were killed by the police or were murdered by other civilians and the police didn’t do anything about it until video footage leaked online and everybody saw what was happening.

The drops that filled the glass

In February 2020, Ahmaud Arbery, an African-American man, was out jogging when two white men went after him and shot him in cold blood, for nothing. Despite having video evidence, the police didn’t do anything in order to catch the perpetrators, until early May, when the video leaked online and went viral.

Following the public outrage on social media, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested the two white men and charged them on two accounts. The fact that it took 74 days for the police to do anything about it rekindled the debate about racial profiling in the US. The case didn’t really go mainstream internationally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March, Breonna Taylor, an African-American woman was shot eight times by the police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. The case didn’t get as much profile as the murder of Arbery, as again, the pandemic was swiping across Europe and was making an impact in the US. 

In late May, George Floyd was also killed by a white police officer. With the pandemic slowing down a bit in parts of Europe and with lockdowns being removed, people finally went to the gym to their Century punching bag and also saw the murder, which was caught on video, and it made international headlines and proved to be the last drop for people.

The people of America went to the streets and started protesting. This happened in all 50 states, which is considered to be the first time this has ever happened nationwide at this level. Soon enough, people in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia also went out to protest. Over 60 countries have had protests in solidarity.

A change is coming

Black people have been suffering for hundreds of years, and this was clearly not the first time that a white person did this. So why is it that just now we finally see a global movement that aims to fight racism? From regular people to celebrities to big companies, millions across the globe are in this fight. 

This is the case of social media activism done right, as the video of George Floyd spread quickly all across the world and was picked up by the news outlets. Now, the things that black people were talking about for ages could finally be seen by the whole wide world and made many realize that racism is truly still active.

If other cases weren’t caught on video or the videos weren’t very clear, this was as explicit as it needed to be to send the message about police brutality and racial profiling. Combined with the activism in recent years and the fear of right-wing parties winning elections, people finally seem to realize that there was truth in the words all along.

For how long, though, remains to be seen.

 



About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.


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