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The Black Lives Matter Movement by Jackie Tran

The Black Lives Matter Movement

Written by Jackie Tran



Fighting for their rights

The whole nation has been rumbled to its core about what’s currently taking place in America. Racism, police brutality, white supremacists, and oblivious people. African Americans have been fighting for fair and equal treatment ever since the 1800’s. They’ve persisted through slavery, fighting for their human rights, and years of disrespect from other races. The United States has even gone through a disastrous Civil War that divided our nation and killed over 600,000 citizens, so that African Americans could have freedom and basic human rights. Today, some people still think it’s okay to discriminate against African Americans, solely based upon their skin color. Even after two centuries of insisting that they’re just as human as white people, some people and organizations are too close-minded to realize they’re the ones creating racism and causing issues in our country.


Protests

Throughout last week, powerful protests have occurred in all fifty states and even in areas outside the United States. The first ones were in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 26. The day before, George Floyd, an African American, was killed during a police arrest. He was wrongfully accused of forgery, and a police officer forced him on the ground and held him there with his knee on Floyd’s neck. During the nine minutes Floyd was on the ground, he kept saying the words “I can’t breathe” to the officer, repeating himself over and over. Floyd is not the only innocent black person to be killed by a police officer. Many innocent lives have been taken by the police just because of the color of their skin. The movement,


#SayTheirNames

Recognizes African Americans that have lost their lives due to racial discrimination and police brutality throughout the past couple of years.

Damage At least four hundred cities in America quote Floyd’s words on cardboard signs and put their fists up, chanting for justice. Every race is coming together to stop the police from wrongfully targeting black lives. But some people have taken advantage of this powerful movement and protests for their own personal gain. Looters have taken this moment as an opportunity to have a shopping spree, breaking down doors and stealing everything in businesses. Lots of property damage has been caused due to burned down buildings, destruction, and tagging walls. Some people are taking these aggressive actions to make the statement that something needs to change. Others are doing this to cause trouble and to have an adrenaline rush that has no relevance to the protest.


ACAB

One of the biggest problems faced during these protests is that the police aren’t supporting the protesters, instead, officers are fighting them. Rubber bullets, batons, tear gas, and mace, have been used on the protesters in many places around the country. The rubber bullets used are just regular bullets coated with solidified rubber, which are extremely dangerous to use on people and can cause life-threatening injuries. Even in the cases of purely peaceful protests, the police have set fire first. They have made numerous unlawful arrests of protesters. There have been over 11,000 arrests made in the past week due to the protests. All over the internet, thousands of people have been sharing videos of police being violent towards protesters, some videos even showing the police running people over with their cars. There are many times where the police were violent towards peaceful protesters that are unknown and undocumented. Why aren’t the police serving for the people? Why are they going against them? Officers have made barriers to block protesters from entering busy streets. They have sent tear gas bombs to shoo them away. Our own policemen are going against the people they serve for exercising their Constitutional right to protest injustices. This started many other movements such as, #ACAB #Fuck12 and other phrases meaning that police officers are racist and unjust.


Social Media Issues

People all around the world have been sharing their thoughts online. From Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and every other platform, there are people spreading awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement. Millions of people, even celebrities, sports players, and influencers, have used their social platform to spread awareness as well. This has caused some more issues though. The people who are staying silent during this time are being called out as racist or careless. Many people are insisting that “silence is violence” and that everybody must use their rights as an American citizen to stand up for what’s right.

For the people who do share their opinions, there are others who think differently. This difference in opinion has caused many people to divide from each other, making sides on who’s right and wrong. Instead of saying Black Lives Matter, some say All Lives Matter, as a way to steal the spotlight away from the real problem. Some use the term, “All Lives Matter'' with good intentions, they think it means that all races will fight together so that all lives are equal. Others are using this to take away the attention for black people’s rights. Many Black Lives Matter activists disagree, saying that “All lives can’t matter until black lives do”.



#BlackOutTuesday

It was a day where people took a break from posting personal posts on instagram to express solidarity towards the BLM movement. This meant that everyone who wanted to participate, would post a black screen and hashtag it with #BlackoutTuesday, intending to show support. This event actually caused a big issue, despite good intentions of posters, some people mistakenly tagged their posts with #BLM or #BlackLivesMatter. That caused those hashtags to be filled with black squares instead of important information and support for the movement. Another concern on social media during this movement was the fake support people posted. Some activists could tell that others only posted something because they didn’t want to be perceived as bad or ignorant. A lot of claims have been made that posting something didn’t do anything, unless they were actually supported by action.


Ways you can support the Black Lives Matter Movement

There are many efficient and effective ways to support the movement. If you’re uncomfortable about sharing publicly about your support, then know that it’s okay to support privately. At least you’re helping the movement. Even if it’s a small act, you’ll still be helping the cause!


Donate to organizations that support BLM and racial equality


Go to protests and PEACEFULLY spread awareness

- Bring signs

- Wear appropriate clothing

- Wear a mask, Covid is still spreading

- Be sure to stay safe


Comfort and support your friends that are POC

- Ask them how they feel about the movement

- Be sure you’re there for whatever support they need

- Defend them from offensive people


Listen to the playlist on Youtube made to make money to donate to BLM organizations

- Let it run in the background on mute if you don’t want to listen to it


Support businesses that are owned by black people


Sign petitions to make change happen


Text, call or email to demand justice

- Text “JUSTICE” to 668-366

- Text “FLOYD” to 551-56

- Email the Minneapolis PD demanding justice: police@minneapolismn.gov


Read and educate yourself on the BLM movement

- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

- I Am a Black Woman by Mari Evans

- Countless other works, both fiction and nonfiction

- Learn about the other lives lost due to racist police brutality and share it to others


This world is not going to get better without any action. If you believe in change then please help out. It is your choice to do what you think is right. Whether your opinion is not the same as someone else’s, respect it or convince them on why you think their opinion is incorrect in a polite manner. This is history being written down for the future generations to read and talk about. Make your decision on what to do during this historical moment, where any action can help create change. Use your freedom to make a change for what you think is right.


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