3 Important Reminders About Our Nation's 'Black Lives Matter' Movement
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Politics and Activism

3 Important Reminders About Our Nation's 'Black Lives Matter' Movement

This is everyone's fight. We are hearing a siren that has been blaring for far too long.

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3 Important Reminders About Our Nation's 'Black Lives Matter' Movement
Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

Black lives matter: does that sound revolutionary?

This phrase has taken the nation by storm as organized protests take place in all 50 states over the death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. This happened just shortly after the shooting of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was simply out for a run. These murders have been eye-opening incidences for a large majority of the American public and the phrase 'Black Lives Matter' has graced signs, buildings, and even a street in Washington, D.C. leading to the White House.

Still, we must hope that this phrase does not sound revolutionary - because it shouldn't. It shouldn't have to be "eye-opening" that an entire race of people matters. It shouldn't have to be something that we need to be reminded of.

The necessity for the existence of a phrase as 'Black Lives Matter' is disheartening, but its necessity is demanded from the state of our nation. It has come to this. We can't change the past but we can acknowledge it and work towards a better future, for which it is required that we say that Black. Lives. Matter.

As we fight for a better future, there are a few key points to remember.

1. We ALL play a part in this fight. 

It's easy to think that these events have nothing to do with us if we are not black, but the fact is that it has everything to do with everyone. As a person of color, especially, my rights and those of my family exist because of the work done by black activists during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Separate from politics and activism, let us also not forget the important contributions of black Americans to science, literature, music, and the arts.

Still, acknowledging accomplishments feels like justifying existence. The simple reason that we are all one human family is - as it should be - enough for us to stand up for one another.

2. Protest changes things, and things have changed about our protests. 

The Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s accomplished much of what it did due to the constitutional right to protest. Today, we are seeing changes made as a result of protest, including the charging of all four officers involved in George Floyd's killing and an upgrade to the original murder charge. Notably, these are instances that should have happened in a timely manner, not days after the incident.

Protests have brought about change, yet there are also things that have changed about our protests. In a public address regarding George Floyd's death, former President Barack Obama remarked the following: "You look at those protests, and that was a far more representative cross-section of America out on the streets, peacefully protesting, and who felt moved to do something because of the injustices that they had seen. That didn't exist back in the 1960s, that kind of broad coalition." To read more, click here.

We are seeing diversity in our protests because it is everyone's fight, and we are better for it.

3. There is good coming from this all. 

Growth happens from stepping outside our comfort zone, and this holds true now as it did in all tumultuous periods of historical change. There is a much greater awareness towards long-standing systemic racism, being 'anti-racist' as opposed to 'not racist', supporting black-owned businesses, donating to activist organizations, and much more.

Just as important is the large shift in public opinion over the Black Lives Matter movement. TheNew York Times cites data showing that over the past two weeks, support for the movement has increased by about as much as it did in the last two years. Moreover, a majority of Americans are in favor of protests.

A few centuries behind, but America is beginning to gain some light on its problem of race discrimination. In whatever way we may help light a candle to equality and justice, we should. After all, by any measure, this must be a movement beyond just one moment.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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