The Black Lives Matter protests have been going on all across the world for the better part of the last decade. If you’ve heard people shouting “say their names” then you’ve already seen a small part of the impact these movements have had.
Here’s a quick look into the history of the protest movement that is shaping worldwide politics.
A Long History
While Black Lives Matter as we know it today didn’t start until 2013, but the political struggle behind the phrase “say their names” has been going on for generations.
Black Lives Matter shares historical roots with the same political struggles that fought to end slavery as well as the civil rights movement.
With all the hashtags and focus on social media, it can feel like a new struggle, but it is tied into historical events spanning more than the last hundred years.
Starting With a Hashtag
Before we got the “say their names” banners and rallying cry, we had #BlackLivesMatter.
This hashtag was created after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting of an unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin.
Black Lives Matter would gain more formal recognition after the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. These protests continue on to today.
Many Movements With Similar Goals
While there are several organizations that have adopted “Black Lives Matter” as part of their name, the phrase has no copyright as there is no single Black Lives Matter group.
There are many different groups across the world who share the same political goals who use this nomenclature.
While there are many different groups who operate under this banner, they all share a similar focus in preventing police violence.
It didn’t take long for these protests to gain international support.
There have been Black Lives Matter protests in Australia, Denmark, and Japan just to name a few places. These international protests have been both to address local concerns centered around racism and police violence as well as to show support to the American movement.
Countries like New Zealand and the UK have seen Black Lives Matter become a local protest movement facing many of the same problems that the American movement faces.
What will happen with these movements is being written today by the people engaging with them.
Writing Tomorrow’s History
The history of civil rights is an ongoing struggle. The Black Lives Matter movement is currently writing its place in that long history. There have already been changes made by this movement.
Just as these movements have been growing over time, so has public perception with many polls showing that the general opinion of Black Lives Matter has become overall positive. There have also been reform efforts started in the wake of these protests.
Tomorrow’s history is in the hands of the people who are working to write it today.