Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter


People have been speaking out in mass demonstrations against racism in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests since 2013. After a black man called George Floyd was unfairly killed by police in 2020, the protests have grown and strengthened. Estimates suggest that in 2021 more than 210,000 people attended BLM protests in the UK. About 26,000,000 people attended BLM protests in the USA that same year.

Black Lives Matter

Why did Black Lives Matter start?

People first started protesting under the Black Lives Matter movement in America in 2013 after a black teenager called Trayvon Martin was unfairly killed by a white man called George Zimmerman. George was walking in his neighbourhood one day, when he noticed Trayvon and decided that Trayvon looked suspicious. He followed Trayvon and eventually they ended up getting into an argument. George shot and killed Trayvon. Initially George was not charged with the crime, despite having killed Trayvon. This made people angry. They believed that George killed Trayvon just because he was black, and got away with it because he was white. So, people took to the streets and social media and began protesting in the name of Black Lives Matter.

Since then, people have continued to take to the streets to protest against racist events, such as the unfair killing of George Floyd by policeman Derek Chauvin in 2020.


Black Lives Matter

What has Black Lives Matter achieved so far?

But the good news is that since the Black Lives Matter movement was born in 2013, huge leaps have been made in the search for equality and eradication of racism.

  • Education: Schools all around the world have updated their curriculum to provide a greater understanding of racism. They have, for example: included anti-racist teachings, added books written by a diverse range of authors, and discussed the history of racism. Schools have also adopted racial equity policies to ensure that all students in the school are treated fairly irrespective of the colour of their skin.
  • Reforming the police force: Rules and regulations for police all around the world have been updated to ensure that police do not behave unfairly towards black people. More than 60 of America’s largest cities have passed policies to say that police can’t use chokeholds anymore. And, many states have passed a rule called a ‘duty to intervene’ which says that police officers have to step in if their colleagues use excessive force.
  • Removing monuments and statues that honour racist people: Monuments and statues that honour people who were responsible for slavery have been removed.
  • Recognising and removing racism from entertainment and pop culture: Film and music producers have recognised and/or removed racism from their productions. Disney have added an advisory that says ‘This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures… These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now…’.
Black Lives Matter

What is racism?

Racism is when people are treated unfairly because of their skin colour or background.

It started hundreds of years ago when European countries established colonies around the world. They took control of the land and started controlling the people who lived there. They made the native people work for them as slaves and treated them badly. The people in power were usually white and the native people black, so a culture of white people looking down on and mistreating black people began.

While this attitude might seem totally crazy, it has taken an awful long time to weed it out of society, and, sadly, in some places around the world today racism still stands.

How can people like you help?

If you feel you want to make a difference, the good news is, you can! We are striving for a world in which the Black Lives Matter movement is no longer needed and everyone is treated fairly. But until we reach that stage, the Black Lives Matter movement needs your support!

You can:

  • Write a letter to your MP asking what they are doing to support Black Lives Matter. Ask that they ensure that peaceful protests are not met with unreasonable police brutality.
  • Raise awareness on social media using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Always be sure to check with a parent or guardian before posting on social media.

Relevant SDGs:

If you’d like to learn more about discrimination and injustices around the world, check out the pages on UN Sustainable Development Goals 10 and 16.

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