The recent police murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the protests that followed have reignited the conversation around the social justice movement, Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter, the social justice movement created in 2012 after the murder of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer sent shock waves through the black community, is a movement that has stood against racial oppression and the dehumanization of Blacks in America by uniting Black people in an effort to fight against the deprivation of our human rights.
While Black Lives Matter is a powerful movement bringing attention to the issues that face Black people nationwide, the term Black in Black Lives Matter has garnered nearly as much attention as the movement itself.
In response to Black Lives Matter non-marginalized groups have responded with their own movements, including “All Lives Matter,” and — after the recent police shootings in Dallas — “Blue Lives Matter.” Both are an attempt to deemphasize the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and bolster the unfounded claims that Black Lives Matter is inherently exclusionary and therefore divisive, invalid, or terroristic.
However, it is not simply the term “Black” in “Black Lives Matter” that has those who oppress Blacks in America concerned — and, in many cases, outraged.
The true concern surrounding Black Lives Matter stems from the strength that Black Americans will gain against institutional racism when we unite. The Black Lives Matter movement is giving Black people a united voice in our fight for our human rights.
As Assata Shakur said, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom, it is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
The idea of Blacks breaking loose from the chains of systematic and institutional racism is a threat to our oppressors because collectively we are powerful, and it is that power that has truly sparked the fear and backlash against Black Lives Matter.
As Huey P. Newton said, “There’s no reason for the establishment to fear me. But it has every right to fear the people collectively — I am one with the people.”
The strength that comes from the Black Lives Matter movement is threat to the oppression, dehumanization, and inequality that Blacks face in America. The word “Black” does not undermine the movement.
Any person or group that attempts to lessen the strength and power of the movement by placing “All” or “Blue” in place of Black is a part of the oppressive society that Black Lives Matter is determined to change.
Tai Harden-Moore is a graduate of Florida A&M University College of Law. Mrs. Harden-Moore has extensive experience advocating to bring attention to the issues that most negatively affect African-Americans. Since being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31, Mrs. Harden-Moore has dedicated her voice, time, and efforts to raising breast awareness in the African-American community through numerous community outreaches and speaking engagements.