Black Lives Matter, global anti-racism movement

Alwaght- The three-year-old Black Lives Matter movement started as an American phenomenon due to the high number of Blacks or African Americans shot and killed indiscriminately by United States Police.

Now the movement is becoming popular in several countries across the world, especially Western countries, both in solidarity with those who have been killed in the US and as a force against anti-black racism worldwide.

During this month of July, White US police officers illegally shot and killed two African American, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Minnesota sparking angry protests across the country. At least eight policemen have been killed in revenge attacks in what is seen as an escalation and polarization of the already deeply divided country.

The protests in the US have been replicated in demonstrations in Berlin, and Amsterdam and as far as Australia. Multiracial crowds of protesters held signs printed with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and chanted, “No justice, no peace.” Black Lives Matter also has chapters in Canada, South Africa, and Ghana, although the official Black Lives Matter website lists only the Canadian chapter.

Protests have also taken place in Liverpool and London after a black teenager died while being detained by Merseyside police.

Demonstrations have been held in the two cities after the death of Mzee Mohammed, 18, who died on Wednesday 13 July after reports he was behaving in an “aggressive and erratic” manner and carrying a knife in Liverpool One shopping Centre.

Video footage shows Mohammed lying face down and barefoot surrounded by paramedics and police officers wearing blue plastic gloves.

He is motionless, apparently unconscious, and appears to have his hands cuffed behind his back while being treated by paramedics. Mohammed later died in hospital. Chants of “Black Lives Matter, Mzee’s Life Mattered” were shouted out as the rally through the Liverpool city centre.

Following Mohammed’s death, Black Lives Matter sent a statement of solidarity to activists in the UK.

It read: “We send you solidarity, as we see Mzee Mohammed. We see Sarah Reed. We see Jermaine Baker, the 1,558 people killed by police in the UK and your struggle to gain justice for them.

“When you lose your family, know that we see that loss and we feel it too. We are ALL family.”

In Canada, Black Lives Matter Toronto has two areas of focus: expressing solidarity with the actions in the U.S. and applying the cause to Canadian issue. Toronto chapter co-founder Janaya Khan is an educator and activist. She says, “Black Lives Matter is not just about black lives, it is about the quality of black lives.” Although Canada has few police killings, Khan said racial bias affects the country’s criminal justice system.

#BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder. The movement says it is rooted in the experiences of Black people in the US who actively resist our dehumanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society. Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes. In a statement posted on its website, Black Lives Matter movement says it is broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the US government.

The movement says it is informing the public about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity.

Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to the US society and also about the humanity, and resilience of African Americans in the face of deadly oppression.

Black Lives Matter is a new social justice movement which is exposing the rot of racism in Western countries especially the US, Britain and Australia which all claim to champion for democracy and human rights yet continue to oppress and trample upon the rights of blacks and other indigenous communities .

By Alwaght