In 2012, Trayvon Martin was killed by a white man who was later acquitted of manslaughter. Since then there has been a series of events across the nation where black men have lost their lives to white men. Many of the white men have been police officers. Most of them have not been charged for their crimes. This has sparked protests and anger across the nation, especially as each new crime occurs. After the acquittal of Trayvon Martins killer, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi began to use the hashtag Black Lives Matter, and the movement was born. The hashtag began to gain attention when Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown. There were distinct upticks in its use on social media with each death and declination to indict a police officer.
Now the creators of the hashtag have created a grassroots network of organizations as a response to the racism that permeates our society. It “goes beyond the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent within Black communities.” Instead “Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.”
By discussing #BlackLivesMatter, they hope to increase the conversation about violence and all ways that Black people are effectively powerless in the eyes of the stated and deprived of their basic human rights and dignity. By starting this grassroots movement that has involved a variety of nationwide protests, they are working towards a world where “Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.” To get involved, see their website to find an event or organization near you.