Black Lives Matter didn’t start with George Floyd. It will not end with him.
Following his murder on 26 May 2020, the movement began to set the course that ultimately stirred global citizens to join together to fight against the sole reason why George Floyd was killed. Against a system--against the American court system which is inherently racist and oppressive towards African American groups. The same system that allowed Derek Chauvin (former police officer) and his accomplices to abuse their power and let another black person to fall as a victim of police brutality.
First co-founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi in 2013, Black Lives Matter (BLM) is inspired by other similar movements that advocate for equal rights, justice and freedom from prejudice, discrimination and oppression that affect specific groups of people by the system. The movement started with an online campaign (#BlackLivesMatter) after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the police officer that was responsible for it was acquitted.
From then on, it only started to grow. BLM engages in direct action as a strategic response to make people uncomfortable enough in order for them to address the obvious issue. In 2014, Black Lives Matter demonstrated against the deaths of numerous African Americans by police actions, including those of Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Laquan McDonald, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Antonio Martin, and Jerame Reid, among others. It continued further for endless other victims of police brutality and racism every consecutive year until the present day.
The video on George Floyd being in a chokehold which would lead to his death has yet again brought American citizens to project their voice on the ongoing problem through organised protests throughout the nation. However, the social movement sparked global protest from supporters and allies alike in countries such as the UK, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and others, both physically and virtually.
Black Lives Matter organisation has called upon the US Federal Government to put forth legislative changes through several policy demands and effective solutions to not only provide African Americans with the equal rights as citizens to live in America, but as well as giving them equal privileges in terms of education, employability, healthcare, etc in comparison to their opposite race, the Whites. Through their structural movement, petitions to get justice for victims such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and donations for their funerals were set up. On top of that, BLM is collaborating with other black freedom and racial justice organisations (e.g. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Color of Change, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), and many more).
Several specific policy demands through BLM in the US are:
1) End the war on Black people:
a) Dehumanisation and criminalisation of Black youth across all areas of society;
b) Mass surveillance on Black communities;
c) Public jails, detention centres, youth facilities and prisons in their present condition.
2) Reparations for the:
a) Systemic denial of access to high quality educational opportunities in the form of full and free access for all Black people;
b) Cultural and educational exploitation, erasure, and extraction in the form of, among other things, public school curriculums that critically examine the political, economic, and social impacts of colonialism and slavery;
c) Continued divestment from, discrimination toward and exploitation of our communities in the form of a guaranteed minimum livable income for all Black people.
a) Reallocation of federal, state, and local government funds from "policing and incarceration” to long-term strategies for education, restorative justice services, and employment programs;
b) The decriminalization, immediate release, record expungement, and reparations for the disparaging effects of both the "war on drugs" and "the criminalization of prostitution" on black communities;
c) Real, meaningful, and equitable universal healthcare;
d) A constitutionally protected right to a "fully-funded education.
4) Economic Justice:
a) Redistribution of wealth through a "progressive restructuring of tax codes at the local, state, and federal levels”;
b) Employment programs that specifically target the "most marginalized Black people" in order to promote economic equality;
c) Financial support of Black alternative institutions;
d) Increased protection for workers in poorly regulated industries.
5) Community Control:
a) Implementation of democratic community control of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies;
b) End the privatization of education;
c) Communal participation in budgeting at the local state and federal level.
6) Political Power:
a) End to the criminalization of Black political activity;
b) Termination of super PACs and the implementation of public financing of elections;
c) Establishment of full-access guarantees, and protections of the right to vote for all people.