Black Lives Matter
international human rights movement
- Black Lives Matter is our call to action. It is a tool to reimagine a world where black people are free to exist, free to live. It is a tool for our allies to show up differently for us. I grew up in a neighborhood that was heavily policed. I witnessed my brothers and my siblings continuously stopped and frisked by law enforcement. I remember my home being raided. And one of my questions as a child was, why? Why us? Black Lives Matter offers answers to the why. It offers a new vision for young black girls around the world that we deserve to be fought for, that we deserve to call on local governments to show up for us.
- We have to invest in black leadership. That's what I've learned the most in the last few years... I think our work as movement leaders isn't just about our own visibility but rather how do we make the whole visible. How do we not just fight for our individual selves but fight for everybody? And I also think leadership looks like everybody in this audience showing up for black lives.... the movement for black lives isn't just for us, but it's for everybody.
- So we know that young people are the present and the future, but what inspires me are older people who are becoming transformed in the service of this movement. We all know that as you get older, you get a little more entrenched in your ways. It's happening to me, I know that's right. But I'm so inspired when I see people who have a way that they do things, have a way that they think about the world, and they're courageous enough to be open to listening to what the experiences are of so many of us who want to live in world that's just and want to live in a world that's equitable. And I'm also inspired by the actions that I'm seeing older people taking in service of this movement. I'm inspired by seeing older people step into their own power and leadership and say, "I'm not passing a torch, I'm helping you light the fire."
- Alicia Garza in An Interview with the Founders of Black Lives Matter, Ted Talks, (October 2016)
- Antiblack racism is not only happening in the United States. It's actually happening all across the globe. And what we need now more than ever is a human rights movement that challenges systemic racism in every single context... We need this because the global reality is that black people are subject to all sorts of disparities in most of our most challenging issues of our day.
- Opal Tometi in An Interview with the Founders of Black Lives Matter, Ted Talks, (October 2016)
- I think about issues like climate change, and how six of the 10 worst impacted nations by climate change are actually on the continent of Africa. People are reeling from all sorts of unnatural disasters, displacing them from their ancestral homes and leaving them without a chance at making a decent living... We also see disasters like Hurricane Matthew, which recently wreaked havoc in many different nations, but caused the most damage to Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in this hemisphere, and its inhabitants are black people. And what we're seeing in Haiti is that they were actually facing a number of challenges that even preceded this hurricane. They were reeling from the earthquake, they were reeling from cholera that was brought in by UN peacekeepers and still hasn't been eradicated. This is unconscionable. And this would not happen if this nation didn't have a population that was black, and we have to be real about that.
- Opal Tometi in An Interview with the Founders of Black Lives Matter, Ted Talks, (October 2016)
- While we see that a lot of anger and outrage and frustration was sparked by the barbaric murder of George Floyd, it’s also clear to me that we have been sitting in our homes, navigating the pandemic, dealing with loved ones being sick, dealing with a great deal of fear and concern about what the day and the future will hold. We have millions of people who have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment and are living paycheck to paycheck and hand to mouth, and I believe they are just thoroughly fed up and thoroughly beside themselves with grief and concern and despair because the government does not seem to have a plan of action that is dignified and comprehensive and seeks to address the core concerns that the average American has....
And so my belief and my view of these protests is that they are different because they are marked by a period that has been deeply personal to millions of Americans and residents of the United States, and that has them more tender or sensitive to what is going on. People who would normally have been at work now have time to go to a protest or a rally, and have time to think about why they have been struggling so much, and they are thinking, This actually isn’t right and I want to make time, and I have the ability to make time now and make my concerns heard...
- I absolutely think people are concerned with police brutality. Let me make that absolutely clear. We have been fighting and advocating to stop a war on black lives. And that is how we see it—this is a war on black life. And people understand that this system is filled with all sorts of inequality and injustice, and that implicit bias and just outright racism is embedded in the way that policing is done in this nation—and when you think about it historically, it was founded as a slave patrol. The evolution of policing was rooted in that. People recognize that. So their frustration is absolutely about the policing and the criminal-justice system writ large and the racial dimensions of it, and its lethal impact on our communities.
- One thing I just want to underscore is that the world is watching us. We see these rallies in solidarity emerging all across the globe, and I have friends texting me with their images in France and the Netherlands and Costa Rica, and people are showing me that they are showing up in solidarity. People are really trying to show up in this moment for black people, but I think they are also doing it because they have been mad for a minute, almost like this pandemic was a pause, and they were able to think about what would justice look like, and what is actually going on, and they have been able to reflect on what is going on. I think they have been not O.K. for so many years, and they are finally saying, “Hey, we are going to take it to the streets and say we are going to show up in solidarity with you.”
- Our role is to start to begin to translate some of the energy and passion into transforming institutions. The process has already begun, and it can’t be turned back, at least not by the current occupant of the White House. I’m not suggesting that it’s easy to create lasting change, but at least now we can see that it is possible. When someone like Roger Goodell says “Black lives matter,” even though he did not mention Colin Kaepernick, and even though he may have — he probably did not really mean it, what that means is that the NFL recognizes that it has to begin a new process, that there is a further expansion of popular consciousness...
- Racism is integrally linked to capitalism... it’s a mistake to assume that we can combat racism by leaving capitalism in place... The Industrial Revolution, which pivoted around the production of capital, was enabled by slave labor in the U.S... we have a long way to go before we can begin to talk about an economic system that is not based on exploitation and on the super-exploitation of Black people, Latinx people and other racialized populations... We now have the conceptual means to engage in discussions, popular discussions, about capitalism... The notion of the prison-industrial complex requires us to understand the globalization of capitalism. Anti-capitalist consciousness helps us to understand the predicament of immigrants, who are barred from the U.S. by the wall that has been created by the current occupant. These conditions have been created by global capitalism. And I think this is a period during which we need to begin that process of popular education, which will allow people to understand the interconnections of racism, heteropatriarchy, capitalism.
- Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter. Black Lives Matter... We see black death all the time, and I don’t know what it was about this, but I know I went home and then I woke up in the middle of the night crying. And I picked up my phone and I started clickety-clacking, right?... Patrisse and I, we started talking about building an organizing project around state violence... Patrisse had been working on her own stuff at the time — the Dignity and Power Now. She was just getting that off the ground. All of this stuff kind of came into synergy. I knew designers and artists here in the Bay [Area] who were really excited to help and reached out...
- I was mostly thinking about building a mass movement that people can be a part of and feel an identity around. I was interested in giving folks like black, poor people who’ve been marginalized, brutalized, an opportunity to have more visibility. Before seven years ago, we could barely get the news to talk about police violence, let alone police death.
- There [was] a lot of rage, a lot of pain, a lot of cynicism. But her (Garza's) post resonated with me, for a number of reasons. I think it being explicitly black, it being a message rooted in love, and it just felt very hopeful.
- I’m really proud of the work we’ve been able to do in the last seven years... What is clear is that Black Lives Matter shares a name with a much larger movement and there are literally hundreds of organizations that do impactful racial and gender justice work who make up the fabric of this broader movement.”
- Beginning July 1, affiliated chapters can apply for unrestricted funding of up to $500,000 in multi-year grants, the foundation announced. Grants from both funds will be administered through a fiscal sponsor.
- "...It was an 18-year fight to (make) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday... Systemic racism can have an ending. Police brutality can have an ending. Economic repression of Black and brown people can have an ending... A movement without action is a movement standing still. To those who say they care: Move more than your mouth. Move your feet to the polls, and use your hands to vote... Black lives do matter. And this is not another digital, viral trend, moment or hashtag... Yes, all lives do matter, but they only matter when black lives matter too.
- When we first started Black Lives Matter, I always knew that this needed to be a global movement and that we needed more people to participate. The issues of police brutality, extrajudicial killings and anti-Black racism requires everybody to pay attention. I knew from the beginning that the project was big, that the mandate was big and that, if we use new media and technology – social media, specifically – we could get the message out there to thousands, if not millions of people. I'm extremely gratified that people have heard and are taking ownership of Black Lives Matter. People now know that in their respective industries and countries, they have the responsibility to ensure that Black people are respected, protected and affirmed.
- We are finally achieving a mass consciousness. We're seeing a widespread awareness and commitment to anti-racism that we have long needed. People are now alert and active because the pandemic demonstrated how interconnected our lives are. We finally had time to sit at home and reflect on how our society functions and whether or not it's functioning well for all of us. The overwhelming consensus was that it is not, it is insufficient – in fact, it's been unsustainable for decades, if not generations.
- People have begun to engage in mutual aid and support for their neighbours. Even if people didn't have much, they were still looking out for each other. Through this, we began to see the ways in which new webs were being constructed. When you're sitting at home or living at a slower pace and you see that Black folks in your community are attacked, killed, murdered by vigilantes and by the police, you wake up, you rise to action, and you rise quickly.
- We are now in a moment where people have no excuses to deny the injustice that's happening in the middle of a global pandemic. Things feel different this time because we were able to tap into a sense of our own agency, our own power and our genuine love for each other.
- Civil-rights organizers Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi put those three words into our minds and hearts seven years ago, when they began to change the country. The sweeping calls for change we see today are not sudden, but the fruits of the labor of activists like them. Their work has given us room to demand more, because black lives don’t truly matter just because people simply say so. This year alone, a white father and son carried out the modern-day lynching of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Georgia. If black lives mattered by now, we wouldn’t have to say the name of Breonna Taylor, lost to a hail of police bullets in her own home in Louisville in March. Or chant the name of Floyd, killed for allegedly spending a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill at a corner grocery... Accountability after the fact used to be the most that I once hoped for, as a black man just living and trying to survive. Wishing for the cops not to target me indiscriminately felt almost like too much to ask. But I must be honest: If this era of Black Lives Matter activism has not resulted in the kinds of changes to America that would ensure my safety, then it has made me feel more secure in demanding those concessions from my country.
- The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has established a fund worth more than $12 million to aid organizations fighting institutional racism, in the wake of the George Floyd protests. On Wednesday, the foundation, which has been influential in the emergence of the broader Black Lives Matter movement, said it was setting aside $6 million in donations to support black-led grassroots organizing groups. Last week, it unveiled a separate $6.5 million fund for its network of affiliate chapters. Beginning July 1, affiliated chapters can apply for unrestricted funding of up to $500,000 in multi-year grants, the foundation announced.
The foundation told the AP it has received more than 1.1 million individual donations at an average of $33 per gift since the death of Floyd, a black man who died May 25 pleading for air as a white Minneapolis police officer held a knee to his neck for nearly eight minutes. The surge of financial support adds to roughly $3.4 million in net assets the BLM Global Network had on hand last year, according to a 2019 financial statement of Thousand Currents, the fiscal sponsor which receives donations on the network’s behalf and then releases money to the group.
- Millions of dollars were raised for the Black Lives Matter Foundation, a nonprofit that is entirely unassociated with the Black Lives Matter movement. In the wake of police brutality protests across the United States, people have been opening their wallets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement — but some have inadvertently been sending their donations to a similarly titled, but entirely unaffiliated, organization. Companies including Apple, Google and Microsoft have reportedly raised more than $4 million for the Black Lives Matter Foundation — a registered nonprofit that is different to the Black Lives Matter Global Network... An estimated $4.35 million was raised for the foundation in the first weeks of June, though much of that was frozen before it could be disbursed.... Google confirmed to PEOPLE that it learned last week that the foundation was not affiliated with the movement, and subsequently updated its employee-led internal giving campaign to redirect all donated money to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
- An 11-year-old boy is doing a small part to make a big change when it comes to social justice. Jack Powers recently started mowing lawns around his neighborhood to raise money, but the sixth-grader from Missouri isn't using the extra cash to buy the latest video game or gadget. Instead, he's donating it to the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been behind the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd on May 25. “I just wanted to make a change and I didn't like how people were being treated,” Jack told KMOV. “I saw what happened to George Floyd and saw how people were being treated, and I decided to make a change,” he told the news station.
- High school students have organized protests in California, Maryland and Michigan. In one Texas suburb, three teenagers led hundreds of people in a march, and they say they aren’t done organizing. In early June, as outrage over racism and police brutality erupted nationwide, three teenagers from Katy, Texas, grew frustrated by a void of activism in their affluent Houston suburb. They banded together under the name Katy4Justice. Over four days, through text messages and video chats, they organized a protest at a neighborhood park, leading hundreds of people in a march through soccer fields and picnic areas in the summer heat...
“Katy loves to think it’s progressive and stuff, but nothing ever happens,” said Erika Alvarez, 17, one of the three organizers, all of whom will start their senior year in the fall. Jeffrey Jin, 17, concurred. “It’s very all talk and no do... There’s a lot of white silence.”...The youth-led protest in Katy is representative of the way the nationwide demonstrations after George Floyd’s death have energized a diverse cohort of the youngest generation. In recent weeks, high school students have led protests in Greenville, Mich.; Laurel, Md.; and Berkeley, Calif. Several teenagers, including those in Katy, said that it was the first time they had organized any sort of demonstration — and that it would not be the last. In Katy, the students’ activism was years in the making, they said, shaped by their own experiences with racism.
- Despite warnings from public health officials, new research suggests Black Lives Matter protests across the country have not led to a jump in coronavirus cases... A new study, published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research, used data on protests from more than 300 of the largest US cities, and found no evidence that coronavirus cases grew in the weeks following the beginning of the protests.
- Stevie Wonder delivered an emphatic, at times impatient video message Tuesday urging on the Black Lives Matter movement. Saying he has listened to "voices on the left, voices on the right... What I’ve not heard is a unanimous commitment to atone for the sins of this country."... Wonder lamented that three states — North Dakota, South Dakota and Hawaii — have failed to formally recognize Juneteenth as a holiday. "...It was an 18-year fight to (make) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday," said Wonder, who teamed with late U.S. Rep. John Conyers in that ultimately successful campaign. "Systemic racism can have an ending. Police brutality can have an ending. Economic repression of Black and brown people can have an ending... A movement without action is a movement standing still. To those who say they care: Move more than your mouth..." The short video, titled "The Universe is Watching Us," was posted to Wonder's social media... "Black lives do matter. And this is not another digital, viral trend, moment or hashtag... Yes, all lives do matter, but they only matter when black lives matter too."
- The protests are colliding with... the country’s most devastating pandemic in modern history. “With being home and not being able to do as much, that might be amplifying something that is already sort of critical, something that’s already a powerful catalyst, and that is the video,” said Daniel Q. Gillion, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania... “If you aren’t moved by the George Floyd video, you have nothing in you,” he said. “And that catalyst can now be amplified by the fact that individuals probably have more time to engage in protest activity.”
- Besides the spike in demonstrations on Juneteeth, the number of protests has fallen considerably over the last two weeks according to the Crowd Counting Consortium. But the amount of change that the protests have been able to produce in such a short period of time is significant. In Minneapolis, the City Council pledged to dismantle its police department. In New York, lawmakers repealed a law that kept police disciplinary records secret. Cities and states across the country passed new laws banning chokeholds. Mississippi lawmakers voted to retire their state flag, which prominently includes a Confederate battle emblem.
- Without gainsaying the reality and significance of generalized white support for the movement in the early 1960s, the number of whites who were active in a sustained way in the struggle were comparatively few, and certainly nothing like the percentages we have seen taking part in recent weeks... It looks, for all the world, like these protests are achieving what very few do: setting in motion a period of significant, sustained, and widespread social, political change... We appear to be experiencing a social change tipping point — that is as rare in society as it is potentially consequential.”
- Artists have turned boarded-up businesses into powerful Black Lives Matter art. After finishing a mural of George Floyd on Broadway in downtown Oakland, Matt Hunter started painting his second one when The Verge caught up with him. This time, he decided to paint a mural of Breonna Taylor. It took him about three days to finish this monochromatic piece of Taylor depicted as “a new monument for a new future,” he said. “I feel as though there is a cycle of things and we are at a boiling point of ignored pain.”... Taylor is... surrounded by thousands of people behind her, which he says represent an unstoppable movement to create change and bring justice to all people. The Moon and Sun on each side of her are a reminder that the Earth keeps turning. “Things move towards evolution, however slowly,” he said. “Evolution of the spirit. Evolution of justice.”
- What we are seeing now in America is about so much more than people just being sick of the police murdering innocent people. It is a generational and class revolt. Yes, COVID certainly exacerbated it... Look at what the Congressional Black Caucus is doing. They are repeating the same kind of tired clichés about police reform we have heard for years. Most people participating in the George Floyd protests know that such reforms are useless. Empty symbolism. The mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser, paints "Black Lives Matter" in 35-foot-tall letters on a street near the White House. But at the same time, she's pushing for a $45 million increase in the police budget and the construction of a $500 million new jail. I don't think people are buying such a performance. I also don't believe that people are buying Pelosi's little kente-cloth, "take a knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter" trick either....
- I'm more optimistic because I see the resistance in the streets, which wasn't there a few weeks and months ago. That's where hope lies. It lies in the streets. And I have got to acknowledge these people. They're mostly young, incredibly courageous, they are out there braving economic misery, arrests, indiscriminate, brutal and often lethal police violence and COVID-19, and they're fighting against injustice and the elites anyway. They're all heroes in my book.
- The aim should be to reshape our society as a whole. We are not doing nearly enough to address the root causes of poverty, addiction, homelessness, and mental-health crises. Instead, we criminalize poverty through harsh fines and debt regulation; criminalize addiction through drug laws; criminalize homelessness by conducting sweeps of people sleeping in parks; and criminalize mental illness by turning prisons into de facto psychiatric hospitals. Why do we focus on these symptoms instead of the true diseases?... The Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic has taught us that we’re all in this together, opening up the opportunity to explore building a new, care-based reality. We need a vision of a future in which vital needs like housing, education, and healthcare are met, allowing people to live big, beautiful, fulfilled lives—with not a prison in sight.