After the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot on February 26, 2012 by George Zimmerman in Sandford, Florida, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree. This event helped to spur the creation of Black Lives Matter, which was formed on July 13, 2013.
Black Lives Matter is an organization to protect black people from racially-targeted attacks and racism from police officers. It was founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullers, and Opal Tometi.
Black Lives Matter gained the most national attention in 2014 after the death of Eric Garner, who was held in a chokehold by an officer for multiple seconds. In the Youtube video, you can hear Garner saying multiple times “I can’t breathe”. This became a phrase for the movement and even famous basketball player Lebron James wore a shirt bearing the phrase.
There are around 16 million black people who are apart of Black Lives Matter. Key contributors to the Black Lives Matter movement are Shaun King, writer and civil rights activist, and Tef Poe, a rapper from St.Louis and activist.
Black Lives Matter has made a huge impact on how black people have been treated by law enforcement and police corruption because it has shined a light on the corruption between police officers and government when it comes to Black people. For instance, it helped to call attention to the arrest of Black Lives Matter protesters, who were protesting about the death of Jameek Lowery, who died days after he claimed police were going to kill him.
Black Lives Matter is most often met with the response ‘all lives matter.’ While this is true, in the United States, black people have been affected more by police brutality and racism. According to TheSocietyPages.org, in 2015, 26% of police killings were African-Americans and in 2016, the number decreased to 24%. So, when people that Black lives matter, they are saying that Black lives should matter as much as everyone else’s.
Black Lives Matter has come a long way since its inception and has impacted millions of African-Americans, help them to enforce their rights and be treated as equals.
Story written by Jason Nicholas, Braydon Ferch, and Brian Santiago