À retrouver également ici : Why Black Lives Matter Is the Movement of the Year
Black Lives Matter activists march in Minneapolis in November. (Jim Mone / AP)
Although more than two years have passed since three black women—Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi—founded Black Lives Matter (BLM) in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the murder of Trayvon Martin, the U.S. justice system’s continued failures clearly illustrate why the movement is still as important and necessary as ever.
Earlier this month, a Baltimore judge declared a mistrial in the case of William Porter, the first of six officers to be indicted in the death of Freddie Gray.
Then, just five days later, on Dec. 21, a Texas grand jurydecided not to indict anyonein the mysterious police-custody death of Sandra Bland.
A week after that, a grand jury in Cleveland similarly refused to indict anyone for the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
Bland’s mother said at a press conference, “I simply can’t have faith in a system that’s not inclusive of my family. ... We feel like we have been shut out of this process from the very beginning.” Rice’s family released a statement echoing a similar lack of faith, saying: “[W]e no longer trust the local criminal justice system, which we view as corrupt.”
Meanwhile, police continue to kill.
On Christmas Eve, officers in Dearborn, Mich., killed Kevin Matthews, an unarmed 35-year-old black man. Then on the day after Christmas, in Chicago, officers killed two African-Americans: Quintonio LeGrier, 19, and Bettie Jones, 55. Both incidents came just weeks after a damning video of the 2014 Chicago police killing of Laquan McDonald, 17, was released to the public, sparking massive protests.
This year alone, according to a database compiled by The Washington Post, police killed nearly 1,000 civilians. Of those who were unarmed, 40 percent were black men, even though black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population.
These are some of the reasons that the most important racial justice movement of the past two years is called Black Lives Matter. If black lives mattered to the police and our criminal justice system, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald and others would probably still be alive. If black lives mattered to the system, the officers responsible for these deaths would be serving time.
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