Race in America: Why the #BlackLivesMatter Movement is Important
Many of you may have heard or seen the hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter or #BLM. However, like myself, you probably weren’t quite sure what the hashtag meant entirely.
Firstly, though, let’s discuss its origin. Did you know that the hashtag was birthed in 2013 following the death of Trayvon Martin? Martin, who was dressed in a dark colored hoodie walking back to his father’s house, was shot and killed by a neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, who said Martin looked suspicious. Unfortunately, the courts decided against charging Zimmerman with murder. If nothing else, this absolutely sent blacks into an uproar. From that anger and frustration came the movement for black lives.
The activist movement was started by three queer women, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullers. Since then, many chapters have emerged with people wanting to take an initiative in the movement for black liberation.
Though society may not always recognize it, the hashtag is inclusive of all blacks, including heterosexuals, transgenders, queers, etc. While it’s definitely a call to action for blacks for fight against injustice and inequality, it’s also a fight for black human rights.
Many of you may have said to yourselves, “Well, all lives matter.” I’ll admit, I was even guilty of this before I enrolled in a “Race in America” class that forced me to see things from a totally different perspective. The truth is, of course all lives matter. But, does society recognize that? Blacks are often overlooked, devalued, criminalized and even dehumanized on the daily basis.
Think about it this way (if you are a person of color): Have you ever walked into a store and noticed that the workers seemed to be following your every move? Well, they are.
Have you ever gotten pulled over when you knew for a fact that you had done absolutely nothing wrong except have a darker skin complexion than others? or stopped by the police while walking because they (the police) felt that you didn’t belong in that particular neighborhood?
Have you ever been walking down the side walk and someone with a whiter complexion than yours was walking towards you? Who moved over to the side to let the other by? Nine times out of ten, it was you.
Have you ever been denied a job where the employees and customers were predominately white? or even been denied a house in a predominately white neighborhood?
If you answered “yes” to either of the questions above, then it is evident that there is a issue of racial injustice in our society. On the other hand, if you’re not a person of color and you’ve noticed or heard about the incidents described above, occurring, then again, it’s evident that there is an issue of racial injustice, and that is why the Black Lives Matter movement is important.