#BlackLivesMatter Movement History

#blacklivesmatter-history

After witnessing the thousands of persons and churches that participated in #BlackLivesMatter Weekend, it made me proud to see so many people taking action but I wanted to know if there was a real agenda, so I did some digging and found that #BlackLivesMatter was created by Alicia Garza  with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi,  as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed. It was a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements. #Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.

In one sentence the creators summarize the movement as follows:

“#Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression…”

Alicia Garza created the infrastructure for this movement project—moving the hashtag from social media to the streets. Their  team grew through a very successful Black Lives Matter ride, led and designed by Patrisse Cullors and Darnell L. Moore, organized to support the movement that is growing in St. Louis, MO, after 18-year old Mike Brown was killed at the hands of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

Alicia Garza notes:

“When we say Black Lives Matter, we are talking about the ways in which Black people are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity. It is an acknowledgement Black poverty and genocide is state violence.  It is an acknowledgment that 1 million Black people are locked in cages in this country–one half of all people in prisons or jails–is an act of state violence.  It is an acknowledgment that Black women continue to bear the burden of a relentless assault on our children and our families and that assault is an act of state violence. Black queer and trans folks bearing a unique burden in a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us and profits off of us is state violence; the fact that  500,000 Black people in the US are undocumented immigrants and relegated to the shadows is state violence;.the fact that Black girls are used as negotiating chips during times of conflict and war is state violence; Black folks living with disabilities and different abilities bear the burden of state-sponsored Darwinian experiments that attempt to squeeze us into boxes of normality defined by White supremacy is state violence.  And the fact is that the lives of Black people—not ALL people—exist within these conditions is consequence of state violence.

When you adopt Black Lives Matter and transform it into something else (if you feel you really need to do that–see above for the arguments not to), it’s appropriate politically to credit the lineage from which your adapted work derived.  It’s important that we work together to build and acknowledge the legacy of Black contributions to the struggle for human rights.  If you adapt Black Lives Matter, use the opportunity to talk about its inception and political framing. Lift up Black lives as an opportunity to connect struggles across race, class, gender, nationality, sexuality and disability.

And, perhaps more importantly, when Black people cry out in defense of our lives, which are uniquely, systematically, and savagely targeted by the state, we are asking you, our family, to stand with us in affirming Black lives.  Not just all lives. Black lives.  Please do not change the conversation by talking about how your life matters, too. It does, but we need less watered down unity and a more active solidarities with us, Black people, unwaveringly, in defense of our humanity. Our collective futures depend on it.”

For more information on how to join and support the Black Lives Matter Movement click here

While Millions protested across the nations, churches organized #blacklivesmatter Sunday nationally:

 

Bishop T.D. Jakes told worshippers at The Potter’s House Church in Dallas that black men should not be “tried on the sidewalk.” At Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, Maryland, choir members sang “We Shall Overcome” for worshippers wearing T-shirts that read “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe.” Men at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles stood more than four rows deep around the altar for a special blessing and message from the pastor, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake.

“Police forces are charged with protecting all our citizens,” said Blake, leader of the national Church of God in Christ, the largest black Pentecostal group in the U.S. “In a very special way, they are to abide by the laws they are called to enforce. They should not bring fear to our citizens, but rather confidence.” 
I offer much love to these three sisters whose vision allowed us to not just make BlackLivesMatter a hashtag but actually a movement that the nation has embraced and acting upon. Great Work sisters!!!
 

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