What is “Black Lives Matter”?

The amount of misinformation that’s been spread about Black Lives Matter is astounding.  These are not our parents’ activists. BLM is not structured like protests of the not too distant past, no secretive meetings in church basements, this is the digital age. Gone is the polite protocol that was one of the hallmarks of yesterday. Since 1968 we in the African American community, seemingly wandered aimlessly in search of another King or Malcolm.

48 years later, our feelings of anguish have been replaced with a sense of urgency, caused by a wave of police shootings of African-American men. Spontaneous protests have occurred across America, because people are frustrated and at times that frustration has led to anger.

The landscape is different and after years of wandering aimlessly, ignited by the spark of injustice, a grass roots group was formed called Black lives Matters. Civil Rights legend Diane Nash, once said, “Freedom, by definition, is people realizing that they are their own leaders”

While people have been quick to denounce Black Lives Matter, has anyone taken the time to really find out what they’re trying to accomplish?  What follows is what BLM is about; this is from the organizations website. Keep in mind, many people are using the name but all are not connected. That is something the organization is going to have to work out.  However, the name and mission is something thousands of people of all races have gravitated to. To this end, please review the facts about Black Lives Matter, what they’re about and perhaps most importantly, what they’re not about.

About the Black Lives Matter Network

Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based national organization working for the validity of Black life. We are working to (re)build the Black liberation movement.

This is Not a Moment, but a Movement.BLM Hall Monitor_2

#BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder. Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our dehumanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society.Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.

Rise of the Dandelions

It goes beyond the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent within Black communities, which merely call on Black people to love Black, live Black and buy Black, keeping straight cis Black men in the front of the movement while our sisters, queer and trans and disabled folk take up roles in the background or not at all.

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.  It is a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement.

What Does #BlackLivesMatter Mean?blm-logo

When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state.  We are talking about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

BLM Hall MonitorWe Affirm that All Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

  • Diversity
  • Globalism
  • Black Women
  • Black Villages
  • Loving Engagement
  • Restorative Justice
  • Collective Value
  • Empathy
  • Queer Affirming
  • Unapologetically Black*
  • Transgender Affirming
  • Black Families
  • Intergenerational

 

DIVERSITY
We are committed to acknowledging, respecting and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities.

GLOBALISM
We see ourselves as part of the global Black family and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black folk who exist in different parts of the world

BLACK WOMEN
We are committed to building a Black women affirming space free from sexism, misogyny, and male‐centeredness.

BLACK VILLAGES
We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.

LOVING ENGAGEMENT
We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
We are committed to collectively, lovingly and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.

COLLECTIVE VALUE
We are guided by the fact all Black lives, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location

EMPATHY
We are committed to practicing empathy; we engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.

QUEER AFFIRMING
We are committed to fostering a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise.

UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK*
We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a necessary prerequisite for wanting the same for others. *Coined by BYP100.

TRANSGENDER AFFIRMING
We are committed to embracing and making space for trans brothers and sisters to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.

BLACK FAMILIES
We are committed to making our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We are committed to dismantling the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” that require them to mother in private even as they participate in justice work.

INTERGENERATIONAL
We are committed to fostering an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, shows up with capacity to lead and learn.

#BlackLivesMatter is an online forum intended to build connections between Black people and our allies to fight anti-Black racism, to spark dialogue among Black people, and to facilitate the types of connections necessary to encourage social action and engagement. This is the Official #BlackLivesMatter Organization founded by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza.