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  • Writer's pictureThales Guidote

Black Lives Matter and its precedents

The black movement's struggle for civil and legal rights is not won. What they conquered was by no means an end point in history. A notorious example of reactionary resistance to the black agenda was the death of Marielle Franco. Today marks 866 days of the vereadora*'s death, and the situation, as well as is the case of several other individuals, has still not been solved and gets minimal attention from the responsible agents, showing the persistent importance of black activism. The most recent and known form of protest is the north-american “Black Lives Matter movement". But after all, how did this come to be?

The movement's precedents have their roots in activist groups such as the Black Panthers (originally 'Black Panther Party for Self Defense'), a revolutionary socialist organization founded by students Bobby Seale and Huey Newton in the 1960s in Oakland, California, USA. The party's main practice was to patrol citizens carrying guns to monitor the behavior of the Oakland police force, defying police brutality in the city. Another parallel to BLM is the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s, whose main figure was the pastor and activist Martin Luther King Jr., as well as personalities such as Malcolm X and Rosa Parks. The latter had a less revolutionary spirit than the Black Panthers and aimed at achieving legal equality for black people in the United States, especially in the South of the country.

The most contemporary influences to BLM are also the most evident. The protests resulting from the death of Rodney King at the hands of a police officer resemble the current ones not only in a thought-provoking incident and excessive police violence against black people, but also in their spontaneity: neither of them have the political focus of the Panthers, but were born out of a general dissatisfaction of the way the black population was treated.

The first use of the term 'Black Lives Matter' as a synthesis of a movement occurred in 2013 after the death of Travon Martyn, an innocent young black man, by police officer George Zimmerman in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, USA. The police officer was completely acquitted of the murder. Since then, protests based on combating police violence have used the BLM mantra. Unfortunately, the death of black people at the hands of police officers is as frequent in the United States as it is in several other countries, Brazil being a case as deplorable as the North American. Since 2013, the protests brought about by the murders of Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, Atatiana Jefferson, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among many, many others, have taken place under the BLM agenda.

Breonna Taylor and Atatiana Jefferson, both killed in their own homes.

Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Alton Sterling, victims of police violence.

*vereadora: is a public worker who can create laws and make sure the mayor is doing their best for the people.

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