What is Black Lives Matter, what is the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad fiasco and how is it connected to Trayvon Martin’s murder?

OVER the past few years, the powerful Black Lives Matter movement has sprung up to protest police brutality against black people.

Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters are set to take to the streets this week in response to the shocking death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May 2020.

What is Black Lives Matter?

The civil rights group came about in response to extreme police brutality which culminated in the shooting dead of three African-American men in 2013.

Organisers say the movement's mission is to "eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities".

Black Lives Matter regularly campaigns against institutional racism and violence towards black people, and speaks out against police brutality and racial inequality.

More than 1000 people were killed by police in the US in 2015, nearly a third of them black.

This is despite the fact that black people represent just 13 per cent of the population.

Against this background there was the fatal shootings of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.

This sparked the Twitter slogan #blacklivesmatter.

How did the movement start?

Black Lives Matter was started seven years years ago in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

It began with a simple hashtag – #BlackLivesMatter – before people began taking to the streets to protest against inequality and violence.

The phrase had first been used in a Facebook post by Alicia Garza called 'A Love Letter to Black People' following Zimmerman's acquittal in 2013, before it was shared with the hashtag and a movement was borne online.

Who are the founders?

The movement was founded by three community organisers and civil rights activists – Alica Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.

The three women had first met through an organisation which trains community organisers.

The Facebook post by Garza was picked up by Cullors, who shared the blog post online with the BLM hashtag, and supported by Tometi.

When have there been Black Lives Matter protests?

  • August 2014 – protests after the shooting of Michael Brown
  • December 2014 – protests after the death of Eric Garner
  • March – November 2015 – numerous protests against the deaths of African-Americans
  • January – September 2016
  • February 2017
  • September 2017
  • May-June 2020

How can I donate and support Black Lives Matter?

There are a number of different pages where people can donate and support Black Lives Matter.

A GoFundMe page for Floyd has already raised millions of dollars, while there is also the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

The Bail Project helps people post bail who cannot afford it, and all Black Lives Matter petitions can be found on the movement's website.

A Change.org petition is demanding justice for Floyd.

 

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