Nearing its end, 2020 will be remembered for a number of things and one of them is the Black Lives matter movement that took over the world in a short time. BLM has both demonstrated street power and successfully led high-profile campaigns against racial inequality and police brutality in United States. Now the 3 women who established the campaign have said they believe the movement has transformed politics.
“Black people alongside our allies stood up to change the course of history and we won,” said Alicia Garza.
The Trio: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi
Garza with her partners Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors spoke appeared in BBC 100 Women Masterclass 2020, a digital event of masterclasses and big interviews on Nov 30, 2020. Garza with the other two co-founders-initiated BLM in US in 2013 after the proven not guilty ruling against George Zimmerman, who shot black teenager Trayvon Martin dead. Widespread protests erupted again later on in the last week of May when police Killed another African-American George Floyd during his arrest in Minneapolis.
“Black Lives Matter, after seven years, is now really in the DNA and the muscle memory of this country,” said Garza. “We all have watched how our community members, our family members, are being murdered on camera.
“There are so many ways in which, even as this movement was exploding for the second time, major news outlets continue to focus on the wrong thing.
“Over and over again, the burden and responsibility for violence gets placed at our feet, but nobody talks about the violence that our communities are experiencing both at the hands of government neglect, but also at the hands of police officers.
“Now we have a new element which is vigilante and white supremacist violence.”
Despite the struggle for black rights, the trio struck a measured optimistic tone, especially when talking about the victory of Biden and defeat of President Trump. Black women in particular have been given credit for playing a key role in the triumph of the Democrat. The founders of the Black Lives Matter welcomed the recognition of their contribution by VP-elect Kamala Harris, who has shattered the glass ceiling by becoming first female, first black and first Asian-American US vice-president elect.
However, the ladies said they would lobby for her to be not just a “symbol but a fighter for our communities”.
“I’m heartened by seeing the ways in which the BLM movement but also a number of other movements have risen to the occasion and have brought forward political thought and action that really reflects the best of who we are,” said Opal Tometi.
“I think our movements are showing a whole other way is possible and I’m very moved and grateful to be alive for a time such as this.”
Talking about how the role of the movement has changed this year, Garza said the campaign was increasingly developing connections around the globe, including backing the #EndSars campaigns against Police brutality in Nigeria.
“We are transforming politics as we know it but we are very focused on transforming power, the way that it operates, and making sure there is more power in the hands of more people,” she said.
Patrisse Cullors said the BLM achievements in 2020 are historical.
“What I’m excited about is that my child gets to say that his mom, alongside other fierce black women, did everything that she could, and we could, to make this place better for us.
“I’m excited about that history being told.”