Black Lives Matter (commonly known as BLM) is a movement that protests against the racial injustice and police brutality suffered by Black and brown Americans in the United States. The movement came into the spotlight after the brutal killing of George Floyd by a police officer. Many other such incidents have occurred in the past. It is being termed as the most significant movement in the history of America, as for the first time, all 50 states came together under one banner to protest against racial injustice and police brutality.
An important thing to be understood in this movement is that the BLM Movement is not the same as the BLM organization. Many people may agree with the movement but do not go with the organization as it has several allegations about using violent and extreme ways.
What makes the movement so great?
Let’s explore some of the achievements that BLM has made other than being the most significant protest movement in the history of the United States of America.
Starting with the biggest one, BLM has changed the world. People across America and around the globe condemned George Floyd’s murder. Celebrities donated millions of dollars to the movement; players refused to play as a protest; and thousands of people protested in the streets, from Amsterdam to London. This worldwide movement made people reflect on their racial behavior and realize the need to change. The death of Floyd marked the beginning of that global need for change.
Moving on, the United States witnessed the removal of the Confederate battle flag, a symbol of white supremacy and racism for centuries. The removal inspired people elsewhere to demand the removal of such flags from many other public spaces.
BLM provided space to many other movements to protest against other forms of discrimination. The Black trans community, which once went unheeded, is widely recognized. The #SAYHERNAME movement also received wide recognition after protesting against racial discrimination and police brutality toward black women.
The BLM movement made police reforms the center of U.S. politics. With Presidential Elections occurring in the same year, BLM made it compulsory for the candidates to stand firm on the issue of police reforms. Systemic racism also is recognized as a problem that needs to be solved.
The movement is making considerable progress
The BLM movement also highlighted the popularity of racist ideologies among various political parties, specifically the Republican Party. It provided the U.S. citizens with the opportunity to know candidates’ real standings and choose their president accordingly. Although the results of the Presidential Elections are yet to be seen, the polls suggest a breakthrough for Democratic nominee Biden. Biden’s campaign would be much more difficult without the support from BLM and their protests against the Trump administration.
BLM demonstrated the power of social media. The whole campaign was conducted on social media due to the restrictions imposed to combat COVID-19. This campaign was the first-ever demonstration highlighting social media’s role in mobilization. It laid the foundation of the scholars are now terming as the mediated mobilization.
The BLM movement is one of the most successful movements in U.S. history. Although the movement failed to impact national legislation immediately, its results will be long-term. The impact was felt not only in America but throughout the world. The cultural influences left by the movement will gradually change how people think about racism and injustice.