Content Warning: Discussion of racism, police brutality

*For a list of resources to stand in solidarity with the BLM movement, visit WWW.JMMSWORDANDSHIELD.COM

On May 25th, 2020, 46-year-old-Black man George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis (MN) Police Officer Derek Chauvin after aggressively kneeling on his neck, while Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao stood nearby. Floyd died at the hospital just a few hours after their horrific encounter. Just a day later, the video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck circulated rapidly on social media, going viral, sparking outrage across the globe. Almost immediately, civilians took to the streets in Minneapolis, protesting the brutal murder of George Floyd, and police brutality against Black civilians; chanting “Black Lives Matter!” or “No Justice, No Peace”. On May 26th, Mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, announced that the four officers involved were fired from the station while Police Chief Medaria Arradondo initiated an FBI civil rights investigation. For the coming weeks, protests continued in Minneapolis, and quickly turned tumultuous as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds, and protestors looted in response. By May 28th, the National Guard was sent to Minneapolis, and protests erupted in cities across the United States including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Milwaukee. By May 29th, Chauvin was arrested and charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder. 

Protests continued to call for an end to police brutality, the murder of Black people at the hands of police, structural change to law enforcement, and incarceration. Not only were protesters demanding justice for George Floyd but also for Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Eric Garner, Micheal Brown, and countless other Black civilians who were murdered by police. The protests were not limited to the United States, from Europe to Asia to South America, people across the globe stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Activists and organizers called for varying degrees of systemic alteration – some demanding the complete defunding of police departments across the nation, while others proposed more pragmatic approaches. Either way, the statement ‘defines the police’ sparked a great wave of counter protestors pushing the narrative of ‘All Lives Matter.’ Even politicians across the nation expressed their concerns about defunding the police; Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey stated, “I do not support the full abolition of the police department,” met with a booing audience. That being said, by June 7th, the majority of the Minneapolis City Council explained that they intended to dismantle the police department, reinvest in community programs that supposedly prevent crime, and social services to support victims, families, and provide rehabilitation to perpetrators. 

Despite being one of the largest civil rights movements in the history of the United States, the Black Lives Matter movement has no single leader or representative. The Black Lives Matter Global Network is registered as a non-profit organization in the United States. Chapters of Black Lives Matter are in thousands of cities across the globe, and the protests, legislation, politicians, and mentality that comes with them are consistently growing.

 The managing director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Kailee Scales, told CNN that “We live in a country built to keep us (Black people) away from the resources that we need,” she continues, “At this point, we don’t stop. We’re not able to relax. It’s now the opportunity to push for the true transformation that we’ve been working for.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s