User:-Mona-/Black Lives matter

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Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a grassroots human rights activist movement and Twitter hashtag that began in July 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin.

The movement gained momentum in 2014 following the killings of Michael Brown, John Crawford III and Eric Garner. BLM leaders have met with prominent leaders such as The Kenyan Marxist and have staged many protests in the aftermath of those killings, notably the mass protests in Ferguson, Missouri and an uprising in Baltimore, Maryland.

BLM has encountered harsh opposition from conservative groups in the United States and other run of the mill racists.[1][2] This usually takes the form of loaded questions such as "Why not 'All Lives Matter'?", a move that reveals a profound ignorance of the central message of BLM: when it comes to the police, black lives don't matter at all, while white lives always have.

BLM's opponents have made vicious threats and personal attacks against some of the more prominent speakers of the movement. DeRay McKesson has been attacked for his opposition to the Confederate flag in South Carolina subsequent to Dylann Roof's racism-fueled murder of black people in their church.[3] Shaun King was accused of lying about his racial background by Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos (of Gamergate infamy) who "revealed" that King's birth certificate said both his parents were white and compared him to Rachel Dolezal, forcing King to reveal his mother had an affair with a black man who is his actual biological father.[4][5]

The Founding Mothers[edit]

The movement was founded by three women: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, who were members of BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity).

  • Alicia GarzaWikipedia's W.svg: a community organizer who currently is the Special Projects Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She has been especially critical of corporate and mainstream appropriations of the hashtag, claiming doing so deprives it of the spirit and philosophy at its core.[citation needed]
  • Patrisse CullorsWikipedia's W.svg: a Los Angeles, California artist and playwright, she was kicked out of her home when she came out as queer.[citation needed] She was largely inspired by the brutalization of her then 19-year old brother in a LA county jail. She's also influential in the movement's extensive use of social media to bring awareness to police brutality.
  • Opal TometiWikipedia's W.svg: a Nigerian immigrant who arrived at the USA in 1983, she's the executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration[Who?].

Though it should be noted that as a - by its very nature - largely "leaderless" movement, many people using the hashtag and going to rallies may not be familiar with the founders or their positions on other issues. Just like many people calling themselves "Anonymous" don't necessarily support - or know about - the entirety of issues Anonymous cares about. The fact that black lives matter, however, is consensus among all who consider themselves part of the movement, for obvious reasons.

Government hostility and surveillance[edit]

Just as the FBI targeted 1960s civil rights activists during the COINTELPRO era, so too does the government today undertake surveillance of BLM activists, and no doubt compiles dossiers on many of them. The Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri over the cop shooting of Michael Brown. DHS collects information, including location data, on BLM activities from public social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and Vine.[6]

The NYPD is using undercover officers in "monitor[ing BLM] activists, tracking their movements and keeping individual photos of them on file." [7] Moreover:

the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Metro-North Railroad, reveal more on-the-ground surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists...conducted by a coalition of MTA counterterrorism agents and undercover police in conjunction with NYPD intelligence officers.

...[documents reveal] undercover police officers, reporting on group sizes, and the tracking of protesters’ movements around the city, particularly the movements of New York’s “People’s Monday” protests, which focus attention on, and demonstrate on behalf of, victims of police brutality, and which repeatedly convene at Grand Central. Some of the reports go further than tracking group movements, however, referring to specific activists and including photos of them....

In another document from a December 7 protest for Eric Garner, Detective Keyla Hammam, ...shared a photo of prominent activist and former Philadelphia police officer Ray Lewis. An undercover police officer made an entry accompanying Hammam’s photo, mentioning Lewis’ past activities with Occupy Wall Street and stating: “A retired Philadelphia Police Officer in uniform is one of the protesters at Grand Central Terminal. He is also known to NYPD as a protestor in OWS and has an arrest record with NYPD.”

Additionally, the Criminal Justice Division of the Oregon Department of Justice has secretly surveilled Oregonians who use the Black Lives Matter hashtag on Twitter -- including the state’s director of civil rights, Erious Johnson. It is unconstitutional, and therefore illegal, for the government to target individuals based on exercising their First Amendment free speech rights. As the ACLU puts it: "The simple act of expressing concern about racial justice on social media should not be enough to trigger information gathering by the Oregon Department of Justice."[8]

Repression in spaces that used to be public[edit]

Historically, downtown areas and public parks have been venues for robust First Amendment activity and protests. But, in an era of increasing privatization, public areas have been greatly diminished. This has allowed private entities to prohibit protests that would have occurred in prior times. Not the least of these is the Mall of America, just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota. (For most purposes, the constitutional protection of freedom of speech does not restrain private entities from abridging speech.)

BLM has sought many times to hold protests at the Mall of America, the largest mall in the U.S. A December 23, 2015 protest over the fatal police shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark was planned, but Mall management "locked down" the place down and the protesters had no sooner entered than they were led away by a throng of cops.[9] Moreover:

[M]all attorneys won restraining orders against three protest organizers, even as they lost a more ambitious bid to force Black Lives Matter Minneapolis to take down all mentions of the protest on social media and to declare the demonstration cancelled...

Mall of America’s ability to so zealously suppress the December 23 protest there highlights how, in a nation where more and more public life takes place in privatized spaces, the ability to exercise First Amendment rights has become increasingly contingent...

“In the eyes of the law, those spaces for speech can be shut down and subject to arbitrary censorship in ways that the public square cannot,” said Teresa Nelson, legal director for the ACLU of Minnesota...."

Spokespersons for the Mall paid lip service to respecting free speech rights, but stated, "the courts have affirmed our right as private property owners to prohibit demonstrations on our property.”

"All Lives Matter"?[edit]

Many, including Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley, have countered with "All lives matter." The problem is neatly illustrated by a Reddit user:

Imagine that you're sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don't get any. So you say "I should get my fair share." And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, "everyone should get their fair share." Now, that's a wonderful sentiment -- indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad's smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn't solve the problem that you still haven't gotten any!

The problem is that the statement "I should get my fair share" had an implicit "too" at the end: "I should get my fair share, too, just like everyone else." But your dad's response treated your statement as though you meant "only I should get my fair share", which clearly was not your intention. As a result, his statement that "everyone should get their fair share," while true, only served to ignore the problem you were trying to point out.[...]

[...]Just like asking dad for your fair share, the phrase "black lives matter" also has an implicit "too" at the end: it's saying that black lives should also matter. But responding to this by saying "all lives matter" is willfully going back to ignoring the problem. It's a way of dismissing the statement by falsely suggesting that it means "only black lives matter," when that is obviously not the case. And so saying "all lives matter" as a direct response to "black lives matter" is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem.


On Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill Maher expressed support of the "Black Lives Matter" phrase, arguing that "All Lives Matter" "implies that all lives are equally at risk, and they're not".[11]

Smear tactics[edit]

Law enforcement members and multiple media outlets tried to pin several shooting deaths of members of law enforcement on BLM and the so-called “war on cops" the movement purportedly has caused. But it turned out that, contrary to early reporting, Fox Lake, Illinois police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz killed himself, and Houston Dep. Darren Goforth was murdered by a mentally ill man who had previously almost killed a guy during an argument over what to watch on TV.[12]

The Edward R. Murrows RWNJs at Fox "News" have variously called BLM: "terrorists," "an extreme group, the Nazi Party," "like the Ku Klux Klan," "garbage," and, of course, "divisive." This crew also hosted a law enforcement officer who announced: "there is no police brutality in the United States."[13]

Spread of the movement[edit]

BLM has spread to other countries[14]. For example, the Ethiopian JewsWikipedia's W.svg in Israel who - or whose ancestors - were airlifted to that country during Operation SolomonWikipedia's W.svg by the Israeli government, now engage in BLM protests against racism and police brutality in that nation.[15] It has also spread to include the transgender black community as well.[16] Native Americans have also adopted this slogan as "#NativeLivesMatter",[17], but a Latino counterpart has been slow to organize.[18]

Support for Palestinians and BDS[edit]

Given the leaderless nature of BLM, it is difficult to make blanket statements about what the movement supports outside of its core mission of exposing and resisting police violence. That said, BLM has reflected the historical tendency of African-American activists to support Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation.[19]Prominent BLM activists have come out in support of the BDSWikipedia's W.svg movement: Patrisse Cullors -- along with a thousand other black activists[20] -- was a signatory of a 2015 letter "reaffirm[ing] solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine's land and people".[21] The statement calls for "black and U.S. institutions to support the Palestinian call for boycotts of Israel" and declares that "refugees' right to returnWikipedia's W.svg to their homeland in present-day Israel is the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians".

Moreover, Washington Post columnist Colbert King links the growing support for Palestinians in the BLM movement with what is perceived as insulting behavior of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toward US President Barack Obama. Obama's national security advisor, Susan Rice, is reported to have said that Netanyahu has done everything except “use ‘the N-word’ in describing the president.”[22] Even The Jerusalem Post has noted that Netanyahu has "burned bridges" with American blacks, including the Congressional Black Caucus.[23]

In October 2015, a Black-Palestinian solidarity video featuring musician Lauryn Hill, actor Danny Glover, Palestinian BDS founder Omar Barghouti and other black and Palestinian activists trended at #1 on Facebook. The video's theme is "When I see them, I see us."[24]

During the uprising in Ferguson, Palestinians took to the Internet to show their own support for African-American protestors, tweeting advice on how to deal with tear gas and other crowd-control methods used by police.[25]


  3. Joanna Walters, "Conservative Twitter trolls attack activist DeRay McKesson after Charleston appearances", Raw Story
  4. Wesley Lowery and Michael E. Miller, "Activist Shaun King says man on birth certificate isn’t his biological father", The Washington Post
  5. Shaun King, "Race, love, hate, and me: A distinctly American story", Daily Kos
  10. "GeekAesthete", "ELI5: Why is it so controversial when someone says "All Lives Matter" instead of "Black Lives Matter"?", Reddit
  11. [1]
  12. Radley Balko, "A partial list of pundits, politicians and media outlets who used Joseph Gliniewicz’s death to push the ‘war on cops’ narrative", The Washington Post
  13. Brennan Suen, "From "Hate Group" To "Nazis": Fox News Ramps Up Their War On Black Lives Matter", Media Matters fo America
  14. Janaya Khan, "Black Lives Matter Has Become a Global Movement", The Root
  15. Andrew Freedman, "Thousands rally in Israel against racism and police brutality toward Ethiopian Jews", Mashable
  16. Rebecca Ruiz, "Black Lives Matter rallies for transgender women after multiple murders this year so far", Mashable
  19. Kristian Davis Bailey, "Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter & Ferguson Reps Take Historic Trip to Palestine", Ebony
  21. David Palumbo-Liu, "Black activists send clear message to Palestinians: “Now is the time for Palestinian liberation, just as now is the time for our own in the United States”", Salon
  22. Colbert King, "When ‘Black Lives Matter’ is linked with ‘Palestinian Lives Matter’", Washington Post, November 6, 2015.
  23. Staff, "'Netanyahu has burned his bridges with Black Democrats'", The Jerusalem Post
  24. Ben Norton, "“Your walls will never cage our freedom”: Black-Palestinian solidarity video goes viral", Salon
  25. Mark Molloy and Agencies, "Palestinians tweet tear gas advice to protesters in Ferguson", The Telegraph