Black Lives Matter:

History and Media Recommendations

By the Executive Service Corps (ESC) | Published June 2020

Black Lives Matter is a member-led global movement for human rights for black communities. In 2013, in response to the acquittal of the murderer of African American teen, Trayvon Martin, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi created the Black-centered building project called #BlackLivesMatter. The phrase "Black Lives Matter" refers to both the call for racial justice and the movement itself. 


 As the murders of African Americans have continued, Black Lives Matter supporters have responded with protests and campaigns, and the number of chapters has grown. 


Black Lives Matter activist, DeRay McKesson, said that BLM "encompasses all who publicly declare that black lives matter and devote their time and energy accordingly."


In August 2014, Black Lives Matter members organized their first in-person national protest, the Freedom Ride, after the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. 


Since then, the movement has held thousands of protests and demonstrations across the United States and around the world. In 2020, three Black Lives Matter chapters were founded in Canada. Also in 2020, the Black Lives Matter Global Network began providing extensive free educational training resources, a web series, toolkits, a network of chapters, and a call for racial justice solidarity on social media and in the streets. 


National media attention was brought back to Black Lives Matter after the 2020 recording of the murder of George Floyd, an African American man, by a police officer holding his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd begged for air. When the video was released, this horrible crime put the national media spotlight on the desperate need to address ongoing racial injustice and the need for police reform.

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