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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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Black Lives Matter Media Recommendations

Media Type
Link to Media
Creator's Social Media
How George Floyd was killed in Police Custody
New York Times
YouTube (9 minute clip)
The issue with 'All Lives Matter,' explained
YouTube (4 minute clip)
Black Lives Matter
Michael Che
YouTube (3 minute clip)
Slavery, Mass Murder and the Birth of American Policing
Robert Evans
What is Black Lives Matter Really About? George Floyd, All Lives Matter & Systemic Racism Explained
Australian Public Broadcasting Service
YouTube (15 minute clip)
Just Mercy
Warner Brothers Pictures
Feature Film (Free on many platforms)
Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
John Oliver
Netflix | Ava Duvernay
Feature Film (free on YouTube and Netflix)
George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper | The Daily Social Distancing Show
Trevor Noah
YouTube (18 minute clip)
Why are Police attacking Protestors (June 8, 2020)
New York Times
Ashton Kutcher Explains 'All Lives Matter' Falsehood
Ashton Kutcher
YouTube (6 minute clip)
What Black Lives Matter Protests are really about
Casey Neistat
YouTube (8 minute clip)
The Man Who Teaches Our Cops To Kill
Robert Evans
D.C. Protests, Trump Threatens To Use Military, Minneapolis Store Owner On Protests (June 2, 2020)
National Public Radio (NPR)
American Police
The Case for Defunding the Police (June 9, 2020)
New York Times
How to be an Antiracist
Ibram X. Kendi
Becoming a Parent in the Age of Black Lives Matter
Dr. Clint Smith
Magazine Article
When They Call You a Terrorist
Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Asha Bandele
Healing Action Toolkit
Black Lives Matter
BLM's #WhatMatters2020
Black Lives Matter
YouTube (1 minute clip)
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Michelle Alexander
Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?
Alicia Garza
Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color
Andrea Ritchie
Rest in Power Beautiful
Black Lives Matter
8 Can't Wait, a project of Campaign Zero
Campaign Zero
Web Site
The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America
Khalil Gilbran Muhammad
About Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter
Web Page
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
Richard Rothstein
#TalkAbout Trayvon: A Toolkit for White People
Black Lives Matter
Healing Justice Toolkit
Black Lives Matter
Rainbow Push Coalition (Chicago-based)
Rainbow Push Coalition
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Race
Robin DiAngelo
Chapter Conflict Resolution Toolkit
Black Lives Matter
Injustice at Every Turn: A lock at black respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey
National Black Justice Coalition
Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow: An Organizing Guide
Daniel Hunter
Trayvon Taught Me Toolkit: For Black and Non-Black POC Organizers
Black Lives Matter
An interview with the founders of Black Lives Matter | Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi (Dec 2016)
Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi
YouTube (16 minute clip)
Equal Justice Initiative
Equal Justice Initiative
Towards the Other America- Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter
Chris Crass
NAACP's Economic and Racial Justice Case Database
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America
Jennifer Harvey
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