Many can recall the first time that Black Lives Matter T-shirts, posters, and other paraphernalia started to be seen. The phrase which was being chanted and posted everywhere came with a variety of reactions and emotions. Some were angry, some were confused and for some, the phrase was the beginning of something bigger.
According to Blacklivesmatter.com, the Black Lives Matter Foundation Inc is a global organization that seeks to eradicate white supremacy, protect Black communities and create a safe environment for Black people to thrive. The phrase Black Lives Matter can now be seen in almost every social justice movement, especially in those centered around Black Americans. When the phrase was born, so was a very powerful movement for today’s generation of Black people everywhere.
The phrase that inspired Black people globally began in 2013 after the acquittal of murderer George Zimmerman who took the life of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The phrase was a demand for justice and for Black lives to be treated like they mattered to the justice system, to authorities and to the country as a whole.
As quickly as the phrase Black Lives Matter spread across the country, so did various oppositional phrases such as “all lives matter,” and even “blue lives matter.” There is a serious issue present, which the Black Lives Matter movement addresses, when there is even an attempt at a counter-argument against the simple statement that Black lives matter.
These oppositional phrases are used by those who lack the basic understanding of the systemic issues and oppression that Black people face everywhere. The phrase “all lives matter” is an attempt to invalidate and erase these issues and to mask it behind the illusion of equality. But anyone who truly believes that all lives matter and should be treated equally, would be able to see and acknowledge the disparity between the treatment of Black people and everyone else.
The phrase “blue lives matter” is one that is especially dangerous. The movement was created by individuals who believed that the opposite of supporting Black lives was supporting the police. This perpetuates many incredibly harmful stereotypes that impact Black lives daily and have even cost Black people their lives. Stereotypes like these are what fuel the many excuses for police brutality and lack of accountability.
This movement was created so that Black people’s voices could be heard and so that if people listened and educated themselves, they could stand with them and be a part of change. The Black Lives Matter movement is responsible for many of the different conversations being had within the Black community that have only made the movement that much more intersectional. Conversations were and are being had about Black members and their experiences in the LGBT+ community, the disabled community, the Latinx community and many more.
To stand with Black people, to support Black people and to love Black people is to stand with, to support and to love humanity. Until there is justice, reform and accountability, America will be far from delivering equity to Black Americans. After all, all lives can’t matter until Black lives do too.