Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an African American social phenomenon that has grown in popularity around the world in recent years. The campaign’s key goal is to combat bigotry and brutality against black people. The Black Lives Matter campaign often organizes demonstrations over the deaths of black people, police brutality, and racial injustices in the criminal justice system in the United States. The Black Lives Matter movement can be described as an expression of African Americans’ contributions to society, as well as their humanity and determination in the face of criminal injustice. The Black Lives Matter campaign has actively used social media to promote its appeal. Black struggles in the US whose results exceeds the numbers of participants and spread its impact far from their point of origin give precedence to Black Lives Matter movement. The movement is both an ideological and political interpose in an environment where unfortunately blacks are deliberately marked for demise. The Black Lives Matter movement was founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi in 2013 and the campaign began on Facebook through the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter (Siscoe, 2016).
Black Lives Matter Movement
The Black Lives Matter movement is a remarkable uprising of diverse people who came up together to work for a higher course. Although the BLM movement has been highly criticized it is evident that the purpose of the campaign is to execute positive ideas and moral values and to also call upon the society as a whole to demand radical changes. The death of the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is what contributed to the created of the BLM movement. The founders of BLM movement started the action as a campaign for change after the incident of the teenager who was shot with no probable cause and the police officer was not charged for the murder. Patrisse Cullors, a guest writer at Huffington Post, talks about the BLM movement and how it has grown over the years to campaign for the justice of African Americans (“Opinion | We Founded Black Lives Matter 5 Years Ago Today. We’re Still Going,” 2018).
Throughout the history of America, there has always been an existing conflict between black communities and law enforcement, and over the past few years, the conflict has escalated due to the wide range of killings of African Americans. The Black Lives Matter movement was not created overnight as it went through many stages to respond to social, political and economic factors. The first stage of the social change endured was the preliminary stage. This is when leaders emerge to organize participants and political figures to demystify the personal feelings of dissatisfaction as social issues. The next step is the coalescence stage which includes the use of mass media by engaging in collective behaviors such as marches, demonstrations, and sit-ins. The last stage is the Institutionalization Stage. This is when the strategies of recruitment have been successful based on the increased participation, and the movement has become more formally organized. The Black Lives Matter movement is currently in the Institutionalization stage (Pellow, 2016).
The concept of the Black Lives Matter movement is to target society as a whole. The Black Lives Matter movement can be considered as a Reformative Social movement, seeking to alter certain limited facets of the social structure in a bid to improve the society. Black Lives Matter is a progressive movement that is using the legal system to promote their ideas of unfair laws. This movement is trying to realize its objectives and effectuate shift within the system, just like any Reformative movement. The Black Lives Matter movement typifies the power of social media or literary digital activism, and its value in advancing political agenda and mobilizing for initiatives that supersedes entreating for justice through mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, Change.org and much more. Their use of social media in advancing the agenda of racism within the law enforcers was one of a kind compared to black movements that superseded them (Carney, 2016).
Looking at the Black Lives Matter movement in the present society, no doubt exists about the role social movements play in campaigning for justice of all citizens in America. Going by their strategies and the national and international attention they get, the BLM movement is going nowhere soon and might end up the longest surviving social change in history. Also, it is important to note that what keeps the action alive, motivating the activist more and giving them strength to carry on with the movement is first, the constant black killings in the hands of law enforcers, and the trauma that accompanies it. The Black Lives Matter movement has also used social media presence to reach a large number of people within a short period. The social media is also a place where consolation, mourning, analysis, and discussion of issues take place and even a platform for demanding justice, acknowledgment and accountability from the concerned entities and individuals (Hoffman, Granger, Vallejos, & Moats, 2016).
Carney, N. (2016). All Lives Matter, but so Does Race. Humanity & Society, 40(2), 180-199. doi:10.1177/0160597616643868
Hoffman, L., Granger, N., Vallejos, L., & Moats, M. (2016). An Existential–Humanistic Perspective on Black Lives Matter and Contemporary Protest Movements. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 56(6), 595-611. doi:10.1177/0022167816652273
Opinion | We Founded Black Lives Matter 5 Years Ago Today. We’re Still Going. (2018, July 13). Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-cullors-black-lives-matter_us_5b48abe7e4b022fdcc58ab38
Pellow, D. N. (2016). Toward A Critical Environmental Justice Studies: Black Lives Matter As An Environmental Justice Challenge-Corrigendum. Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 13(02), 425. doi:10.1017/s1742058x16000175
Siscoe, T. (2016). #BlackLivesMatter: This Generation? s Civil Rights Movement. doi:10.15760/honors.279