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Sat, 07.13.2013

Black Lives Matter is Founded

*Black Lives Matter (BLM) was founded on this date in 2013. It is an international activist movement, originating in the Black community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward Black people.  It was founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi.

BLM regularly organizes protests around the deaths of black people in killings by law enforcement officers, and broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system. The movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African American teen Trayvon Martin in 2013.

Black Lives Matter became nationally recognized for its street demonstrations following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans: Michael Brown, resulting in protests and unrest in Ferguson, and the death of Eric Garner in New York City.  Since the Ferguson protests, participants in the movement have demonstrated against the deaths of numerous other African Americans by police actions or while in police custody, including those of Jonathan Ferrell, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Laquan McDonald, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose, Alton Sterling, Jamar Clark, and Philando Castile.

In the summer of 2015, Black Lives Matter activists began to publicly challenge politicians including politicians in the 2016 United States presidential election to state their positions on BLM issues.  They have also implemented Reparations and protested against the treatment of Palestinians by Israel in their platform.   Also, they were instrumental in shifting awareness to balancing congress in the 2018 national election.

With the 2020 murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery, Rashard brooks, and others BLM remains at the front lines of law enforcement and other systemic forms of American and global racism.

In 2021, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is now building infrastructure to catch up to the speed of its funding and plans to use its endowment to become known for more than protests after Black Americans die at the hands of police or vigilantes.  The foundation widely seen as a steward of the Black Lives Matter movement says it took in just over $90 million last year, according to a financial snapshot shared.

According to foundation records shared with the AP, several chapters, including in the cities of Washington, Philadelphia, and Chicago, were notified last year of their eligibility to receive $500,000 each in funding under a multiyear agreement. Only one BLM group in Denver has signed the agreement and received its funds in September.  A group of 10 chapters, called the #BLM10, rejected the foundation’s funding offer last year and complained publicly about the lack of donor transparency. Foundation leaders say only a few of the 10 chapters are recognized as network affiliates.

The popularity of Black Lives Matter has shifted over time. Whereas public opinion was net negative in 2018, it grew increasingly through 2019 and 2020.  A June 2020 Pew Research Center poll found that 67% of adult Americans expressed some support for the Black Lives Matter movement.  A later poll conducted in September 2020 showed that support among American adults had dropped to 55%, with notable declines among whites and Hispanics, while support remained widespread among black adults. By September 2021, this level of support remained steady.  As of May 2022, support for Black Lives Matter among all racial demographics has decreased significantly, including among African-Americans.

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