The Black Lives Matter movement started in 2014 after a young African-American male teen, Trayvon Martin, was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer because he felt that Trayvon was coming off suspicious. This altercation sparked outrage within the black community about the injustices they face with police brutality and the assumptions towards their race. This outrage turned into an all worldwide discussion using social media to spark the conversation to create a movement discussion of these injustices. Expect, using social media can have a negative connotation because of the way African-Americans are portrayed in the media every single day. It’s important that the movement is discussed in a way that visually shows the world the struggles they face, and not bring down their race especially considering the media’s portrayal of activism. This discussion created by the Black Community after Trayvon Martin died formed a movement called the Black Lives Matter. For me, when I heard about the Black Lives Matter movement, I was appalled, upset, angry and overall upset with the injustice Trayvon Martin faced, especially the very many other injustices the Black Community faces on a daily. According to the USA today by Carolina Simon, “Exactly five years later, the Black Lives Matter movement is a quintessential example of a movement that's found successful amplification through social media.” (2018) The article also discusses a study by Pew, that the hashtag used for the Black Lives Matter movement, was used nearly 30 million times on twitter with an average of roughly 17,000 times a day. By the movement happening, from my own eyes, it was not a violent discussion, it was a concert how their race is treated. I myself was more aware and understood more of what the movement consisted of. It’s difficult especially considering how much backlash they could receive, just like the Civil Rights Movement. One thing that happened when BLM was created, was this odd need to invalidate their movement to say “All Lives Matter.” Now according to the Conversation by David Smith, “The hashtag and slogan “All Lives Matter” is a declaration of “colorblindness”, which Ian Haney-Lopez describes as “the dominant etiquette around race” today.” (2018) The All Lives Matter spark just shows the very real inequality from the past to the present of people's refusal to acknowledge the reason Black Lives Matter movement was created. I am personally very against the ALM movement, I do believe every single person's life on this planet matters, but there is a real reason the BLM movement was created. You have to look at the history, the reason the movement was created, they lost someone due to the assumptions against the Black Community, not to mention everything else in history. Anyone can start a movement, but what the black community is trying to do is spread awareness of their struggles, because of that people jump into it talking about everyone’s life matters. Now their point in ALM may be true but to a certain extent, allow the black community to have their voice rather than steal their hard work from creating this movement which started because of a teen who was murdered. In 2014, Alicia Garza, one of the creates of the hashtag explained how Black lives mattering is a “…precondition for all lives mattering.” (Smith, 2018) In the article on the conversation by David Smith, there's a quote made by Alicia stating, “Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean your life isn’t important- it means that Black Lives, which are seen as without value within White supremacy, are important to your liberation.” (2018) Which is true, if you don’t understand what the movement is truly about and it stands for, then what is really happening. There’s no question or doubt that everyone feels oppression, but if you so strongly about it then speak up about it just as they did. I’ve learned so much from the BLM movement, and I am grateful to know how their movement quickly spread out on social media. I was given an opportunity to witness history being created, a mass media movement that has brought so many people together, to fight for what the black community believes in and fights for. I witnessed different races coming together, to truly show their support and understanding of what the movement is all about, done in a very peaceful way. According to ACLU by Frank Leon Roberts, “As we reflect on five years of BLM, we would do well to consider the myriad ways that #blacklivesmatter has influenced our contemporary moment and given us a framework for imagining what democracy in action really looks like.” (2018) The BLM movement truly transformed the way people talk, think and understand what freedom is all about and the way to organize it. This movement holds so much impact on society today, and it’s important to keep talking about it, to keep it going.
“How Black Lives Matter Changed the Way Americans Fight for Freedom.” American Civil Liberties Union, 28 Jan. 2019, www.aclu.org/blog/racial-justice/race-and-criminal-justice/how-black-lives-matter-changed-way-americans-fight.
Simon, Caroline. “How Social Media Has Shaped Black Lives Matter, Five Years Later.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 15 July 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/07/12/black-lives-matter-movement-and-social-media-after-five-years/778779002/.
Smith, David. “The Backlash against Black Lives Matter Is Just More Evidence of Injustice.” The Conversation, 29 Aug. 2019, theconversation.com/the-backlash-against-black-lives-matter-is-just-more-evidence-of-injustice-85587.