Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a social movement that seeks to improve the health, well-being, and quality of life of African-Americans. Members of the African-American community started the movement in the United States. The BLM campaign seeks to organize and mobilize core businesses, politicians, artists, and everyday people from all walks of life to recognize and solve problems affecting members of the African community in the United States and around the world. Any of the societal problems identified by the BLM campaign have a negative impact on black people. These issues include police brutality, racism, discrimination in the workplace, racial profiling, and an unfair criminal justice system in America. The movement is popular because of the intense publicity that it receives in the social media, mass media, and pop culture. On Twitter, the #BlackLivesMatter is an effective hashtag that rallies the American and the global community to understand the problems in the black community. International media houses like CNN, BBC, and Aljazeera have invited security experts, public administrators, and political leaders to analyze the issues raised by the movement. The activities of the BLM movement should be supported by the organization, pop culture, and the political leadership with the objective of improving the race relations and harmony in the United States and globally.
The BLM movement began in 2013 to ensure that the black community gets dignity and respect in the racially diverse American society. The United States Constitution recognizes the need of all people to be treated with dignity and it also supports the right of association among people who have similar interests. The founders of the movement are Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi. They had the common interest of ensuring that all people are treated equally as illustrated in the American laws. The first major activity that the group engaged in was developing a twitter hashtag that created publicity about the brutal relationship between the police officers and the black people in the United States. It also showed the ineffectiveness of the criminal justice system in giving members of the black community a sound court ruling. On Twitter, #BlackLIvesMatter created a national discussion about the court process that involved George Zimmerman. He was a defendant in a court trial that involved the killing of Trayvon Martin, who was a young man from the black community. The defendant was acquitted by the court, and this resulted in the illustration of outrage by the American social media users. The movement also adopted the public demonstration strategy on the streets of major cities to call for respect of the African-American community and racial tolerance in the United States. The first public protest was held in 2014 immediately after the death of two black youths, Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The mass protests by the members of the African-American community and their sympathizers occurred concurrently in New York City and Ferguson urban areas (Edwards 97).
Racial equality is an issue that has been spearheaded by the BLM movement based on the best practices adopted by previous civil society groups and organizations. The Civil Rights Movement was especially effective in addressing some of the issues in the American community, for example, proper electoral participation and representation, good work environment for all people, equal treatment in the criminal justice system, and similar educational opportunities for all people. The Black Power Movement aimed at empowering members of the African-American community, especially in the area of political representation. The Anti-Apartheid Movement was active in South Africa and it strived to ensure that members of the black community access equal opportunities with the members of the other racial groups (Howie, Luke & Campbell 120). The BLM develops the aspirations and practices of the previous rights movements to further enhance racial tolerance and harmony in the United States and also globally.
BLM has gained international recognition for the efforts of addressing social justice and racial equality in the United States and globally. The movement had an event in Melbourne, Australia, in 2016. Approximately 3,500 individuals attended the peace and justice event. The movement encouraged the leadership of the Australian government to ensure that the rights of the minority groups are respected by the law enforcement officers and agencies. On several occasions, the people from the Aboriginal community have illustrated the inequalities in the legal system based on race. The BLM rally in Melbourne was recognized for the efforts of encouraging peace, social justice, and human rights. For the 2016 human rights effort, the organization was given the Sydney Peace Prize. The BLM has organized rallies in the United Kingdom to encourage a fair police and criminal justice system. In June 2017, the organization organized a protest march due to the death of a black person who was apprehended by the law enforcement officers. The group has participated in protests in Canada to rebuke cases of police brutality. On July 2015, a rally was organized in Ontario to create publicity about two black people who were killed by police officers. In 2016, Pride Toronto honored the organization for advocating for the rights of the minority groups in Canada, for example, the LGBTQ community and the people from the colored communities. The organization has gained international publicity due to its peaceful demonstrations that aim at informing important stakeholders in the society to safeguard the rights and interests of all members of the society, especially the minority groups like the colored communities and the LGBTQ communities (Cobb 1).
Most of the activities of the BLM community receive public attention because of the attention from the pop culture stakeholders. Many musicians from diverse social backgrounds have illustrated support for the ideals of the BLM. The popular singers like Beyoncé and Justin Bieber have expressed support for the group and have even participated in some of the peaceful protests organized by the groups. Popular Hollywood celebrities have included the scenes and practices of the BLM in their programs or shows. Law & Order: SVU had scenes from the BLM demonstrations to show the racial challenges in the American society. There is need to create awareness among the law enforcement officers about the proper handling of offenders and suspects based on the provisions of the law. Race should not be a consideration in the process of ensuring justice and maintaining law and order. Black-ish is a comedy on the ABC network that has an episode that discussed the issue of the BLM. The discussion was aimed at ensuring racial equality in America and encouraging the law enforcement officers to treat all people with respect and equity based on the law (Ransby 1).
Political players in the United States have shown support for the aspirations of the BLM movement. In 2016, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders explained their position about the issues raised by the BLM during the initial primary debate. Hillary Clinton communicated the need for reforms in the criminal justice system to prevent the racial profiling of the youths from the African American community. Bernie Sanders explained that the issues raised by the black community should be effectively addressed and analyzed. He reiterated that his administration will ensure that the rights of all people are addressed to ensure social equity and justice. The Democratic National Committee had earlier communicated its support for the activities of the BLM movement in support of the proper handling of the African-Americans by the law enforcement officers. In the Republican Party primaries, Marco Rubio advocated for the protection of the interests of African-Americans and all people in the United States. President Barack Obama supported the ideals of the movement and called on the law enforcement officers to follow the law when dealing with suspects and offenders in the criminal justice system (Garza 53).
Race relations should be improved in the United States by encouraging social justice and respect for all people. The activities of the BLM movement are important because they aim at improving the relationship between the police officers and members of the African-American community. The BLM also creates publicity about the need to protect the rights of other minority groups in the country and also globally. The political leaders are expected to develop policies that ensure equality before the law and the protection of the interests of all Americans.
Cobb, Jelani. The Matter of Black Lives. The New Yorker, 14 Mar. 2016, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/03/14/where-is-black-lives-matter-headed. Accessed 22 Nov. 2017).
Edwards, Sue Bradford. Black lives matter. ABDO, 2016. Print.
Garza, Alicia. “A herstory of the# blacklivesmatter movement by Alicia Garza.” The Feminist Wire 7 (2014). Print.
Howie, Luke, and Perri Campbell. “Responsiveness and Re-imagining the Future with Occupy and Black Lives Matter.” Crisis and Terror in the Age of Anxiety. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2017. 95-121. Print.
Ransby, Barbara. Black Lives Matter Is Democracy in Action. The New York Times, 21 Oct. 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/21/opinion/sunday/black-lives-matter-leadership.html . Accessed 22 Nov. 2017.