On May 25, 2020, Derek Chauvin allegedly murdered George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. His death was recorded and the video flooded social media, creating a shocked and horrified reaction from viewers as he screams “I can’t breathe” while the officers do nothing. In the following days and coming months, the world erupted into protests for the social justice movement Black Lives Matter, which targets police brutality and systemic racism.
The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 after the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The movement has gained traction over the years, becoming a topic of debate during the 2016 election after many notable athletes knelt during the National Anthem before sports games. Those who opposed the movement, generally older and less progressive people, felt this was disrespectful to both veterans and the country as a whole, despite many veterans voicing their support.
To counterbalance these protests, those who disagreed coined the phrase “All Lives Matter,” which is not a social justice movement of any kind, and many have come to realize are simply empty words. All Lives Matter is generally said by those who refuse to recognize the rampant inequalities and racism in America, and those who maybe hold some racist views themselves. The truth of the matter is All Lives Matter fights and advocates for nothing and is only used to dismiss the incredibly real racism black people face in the United States.
Racism is often associated with being an issue from an earlier time period, however, the Civil Rights Act was not passed until 1964 which means that all of the people who grew up in households preaching racist narratives and glorifying segregation, are still alive today and continue to spread the harmful fallacies they inherited. People also often forget that even though Jim Crow Laws, segregation, and redlining are illegal, they all contributed to generational poverty and trauma which still affects black and minority communities.
Black Lives Matter is not claiming that only black lives matter, but instead illustrating that black lives matter in addition to white and other lives. Systemic racism is an issue that has been ignored by many lawmakers and citizens alike for the entirety of our country’s existence and only now as the general population is becoming increasingly aware of the racial injustices in our country, we as a society can begin to actually address these issues and ensure that everyone can have freedom and equality. For more information on the movement, visit blacklivesmatter.org .