|Formation||July 13, 2013|
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence toward black people. 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.
In 2013, the movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatteron social media, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin. 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 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 Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Walter Scott,Jonathan Ferrell, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose, and Freddie Gray, which led to protests and rioting in Baltimore. In the summer of 2015, Black Lives Matter began to publicly challenge politicians—including politicians in the 2016 United States presidential election—to state their positions on BLM issues. The overall Black Lives Matter movement, however, is a decentralized network and has no formal hierarchy or structure.
In the summer of 2013, after George Zimmerman‘s acquittal for the shooting deathof Trayvon Martin, the movement began with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. The movement was co-founded by three black community organizers: Alicia Garza,Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi.
BLM claims inspiration from the African-American Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power movement, the 1980s Black feminist movement, Pan-Africanism, Anti-Apartheid Movement, Hip hop, LGBTQ social movements and Occupy Wall Street.
Garza, Cullors and Tometi met through “Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity” (BOLD), a national organization that trains community organizers. They began to question how they were going to respond to the devaluation of black lives after Zimmerman’s acquittal. Garza wrote a Facebook post titled “A Love Note to Black People” in which she wrote: “Our Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter”. Cullors replied: “#BlackLivesMatter”. Tometi then added her support, and Black Lives Matter was born as an online campaign.
In August 2014, BLM members organized their first in-person national protest in the form of a “Black Lives Matter Freedom Ride” to Ferguson, Missouri after theshooting of Michael Brown. More than five hundred members descended upon Ferguson to participate in non-violent demonstrations. Of the many groups that descended on Ferguson, Black Lives Matter emerged from Ferguson as one of the best organized and most visible groups, becoming nationally recognized as symbolic of the emerging movement. Since August 2014, Black Lives Matter has organized more than one thousand protest demonstrations. On Black Friday in November, Black Lives Matter staged demonstrations at stores and malls across the United States.
In 2015, after the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, black activists around the world modeled efforts for reform on Black Lives Matter and the Arab Spring. This international movement has been referred to as the “Black Spring”.Connections have also been forged with parallel international efforts such as the Dalit rights movement. Expanding beyond street protests, BLM has expanded to activism, such as the 2015 University of Missouri protests, on American college campuses.
Currently, there are at least twenty-three Black Lives Matter chapters in the U.S., Canada, and Ghana. Other Black Lives Matter leaders include: DeRay Mckesson, Shaun King, Marissa Johnson, Nekima Levy-Pounds, and Johnetta Elzie.
Black Lives Matter originally used social media—including hashtag activism—to reach thousands of people rapidly. Since then, Black Lives Matters has embraced a diversity of tactics. BLM generally engages in direct action tactics that make people uncomfortable enough that they must address the issue.
BLM has been known to build power through protest. BLM has held rallies and marches, including one for the death of Corey Jones in Palm Beach, Florida.BLM has also staged die-ins and held one during the 2015 Twin Cities Marathon.
Political slogans used during demonstrations include the eponymous “Black Lives Matter”, “Hands up, don’t shoot” (a later discredited reference attributed to Michael Brown), “I can’t breathe” (referring to Eric Garner), “White silence is violence”, “No justice, no peace”, and “Is my son next?”, among others.
Most of the protesters actively distinguish themselves from the older generation of black leadership, such as Al Sharpton, by their aversion to middle-class traditions such as church involvement, Democratic Party loyalty, and respectability politics.
It is important to note that music is an important repertoire of contention for the black lives matter movement. Rappers such as Kendrick Lamar have used music to promote structural conduciveness necessary for a social movement to maintain momentum according to value added theory. Songs such as “Alright” have been used as a rallying call. Beyoncé‘s most recent production Lemonade featured Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin’s mothers crying while holding the last images they have of their sons, in effect propelling the issue of police brutality to a national stage. The video for her single “Formation” (2016) celebrates southern black culture and features a line of policemen holding up their hands while a hooded black boy dances in front of them. The video also features a shot of graffiti on a wall reading “stop shooting us”.
Memes are also important in garnering support for and against the Black Lives Matter new social movement. Information communication technologies such as Facebook and Twitter spread memes and are important tools for garnering web support in hopes of producing a spillover effect into the offline world. The use of ICTs facilitate the spread of the message “All Lives Matter” as a response to the Black Lives Matter hashtag as well as the “Blue Lives Matter” hashtag as a response to Beyonce’s halftime performance speaking out against police brutality.
Black Lives Matter incorporates those traditionally on the margins of black freedom movements. The organization’s website, for instance, states that Black Lives Matter is “a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of black people by police and vigilantes” and, embracing intersectionality, that “Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, blackundocumented folks, folks with records, women and all black lives along the gender spectrum.”
Founder Alicia Garza summed up the philosophy behind Black Lives Matter as follows: “When we say Black Lives Matter, we are talking about the ways in which Black people are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity. It is an acknowledgement Black poverty and genocide is state violence. It is an acknowledgment that 1 million Black people are locked in cages in this country–one half of all people in prisons or jails–is an act of state violence. It is an acknowledgment that Black women continue to bear the burden of a relentless assault on our children and our families and that assault is an act of state violence.”
Garza went on: “Black queer and trans folks bearing a unique burden in a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us and profits off of us is state violence; the fact that 500,000 Black people in the US are undocumented immigrants and relegated to the shadows is state violence; the fact that Black girls are used as negotiating chips during times of conflict and war is state violence; Black folks living with disabilities and different abilities bear the burden of state-sponsored Darwinian experiments that attempt to squeeze us into boxes of normality defined by White supremacy is state violence. And the fact is that the lives of Black people—not ALL people—exist within these conditions is consequence of state violence.”
In 2014, the American Dialect Society chose #BlackLivesMatter as their word of the year. Over eleven hundred black professors expressed support for BLM.Several media organizations have referred to BLM as “a new civil rights movement”. #BlackLivesMatter was voted as one of the twelve hashtags that changed the world in 2014.
In 2015, Serena Williams expressed her support for Black Lives Matter, writing to BLM: “Keep it up. Don’t let those trolls stop you. We’ve been through so much for so many centuries, and we shall overcome this too.”
As a part of a general assembly, the Unitarian Universalist Church passed a resolution in support of BLM and staged a die-in in Portland, Oregon. Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza—as “The Women of #BlackLivesMatter” — were listed as one of the nine runners-up for The Advocate‘s Person of the Year.
The February 2015 issue of Essence Magazine and the cover was devoted to Black Lives Matter. In December 2015, BLM was a contender for the Time Magazine Person of the Year award. Angela Merkel won the award while BLM came in fourth of the eight candidates.
On May 9, 2016 Delrish Moss was sworn in as the first permanent African-American police chief in Ferguson, where he acknowledges he faces such challenges as diversifying the police force, creating dramatic improvements in community relations, and addressing issues that catalyzed the Black Lives Matter movement.
Notable protests and demonstrations
In August 2014, during Labor Day weekend, Black Lives Matter organized a “Freedom Ride”, that brought more than 500 African-Americans from across the United States into Ferguson, Missouri, to support the work being done on the ground by local organizations.
Black Lives Matter members and supporters rode in from New York City, Newark, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Miami, Detroit, Houston, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nashville, Portland, Tucson, Washington, D.C., and more, in a similar way to that of the Freedom Riders in the 1960s. The movement has been generally involved in the Ferguson unrest, following the death of Michael Brown.
In November in Oakland, California, fourteen Black Lives Matter activists were arrested after they stopped a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train for more than an hour on Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The protest, which was led by Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, was organized in response to the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Mike Brown.
In December, 2,000–3,000 people gathered at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, to protest the killings of unarmed black men by police. At least twenty members of a protest that had been using the slogan were arrested. InMilwaukee, Wisconsin, BLM protested the Shooting of Dontre Hamilton, who died in April. Black Lives Matter protested the Shooting of John Crawford III. TheShooting of Renisha McBride was protested by Black Lives Matter.
Also in December, in response to the decision by the grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson on any charges related to the death of Michael Brown, a protest march was held in Berkeley, California. Later, in 2015, protesters and journalists who participated in that rally filed a lawsuit alleging “unconstitutional police attacks” on attendees.
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In March, BLM protested at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s office, demanding reforms within the Chicago Police Department. In Cobb County, Georgia, the movement protested the death of Nicholas Thomas who was shot and killed by the police.
In April, Black Lives Matter across the United States protested over the death of Freddie Gray which included the 2015 Baltimore protests. Black Lives Matter organizers supported the fast food strike in solidarity with fast food workers, and to oppose racial income inequality. On April 14, BLM protested across U.S. cities. In Zion, Illinois, several hundred protested over the fatal shooting of Justus Howell. After the shooting of Walter Scott, Black Lives Matter called for citizen oversight of police.
In May, a protest by BLM in San Francisco was part of a nationwide protest decrying the police killing of black women and girls, which included the deaths of Meagan Hockaday, Aiyana Jones, Rekia Boyd and others. In Cleveland, Ohio, after an officer was acquitted at trial in the Shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, BLM protested. In Madison, Wisconsin, BLM protested after the officer was not charged in the Shooting of Tony Robinson.
In June, after a shooting in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, BLM issued a statement and condemned the shooting as an act of terror. BLM across the country marched, protested and held vigil for several days after the shooting. BLM was part of a march for peace on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in South Carolina. After the Charleston shooting, a number of memorials to the Confederate States of America were graffitied with “Black Lives Matter” or otherwise vandalized. Around 800 people protested in McKinney, Texas after a video was released showing an officer pinning a girl—at a pool party in McKinney, Texas—to the ground with his knees.
In July, BLM protesters shut down Allen Road in Toronto, Ontario, protesting the shooting deaths of two black men in the metropolitan area—Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby—at the hands of police. BLM activists across the United States began protests over the death of Sandra Bland, an African-American woman, who was allegedly found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas. In Cincinnati, Ohio, BLM rallied and protested the Death of Samuel DuBose after he was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer. In Newark, New Jersey, over a thousand BLM activists marched against police brutality, racial injustice, and economic inequality.
In August, BLM organizers held a rally in Washington, D.C., calling for a stop to violence against transgender women. InSt. Louis, Missouri, BLM activists protested the death of Mansur Ball-Bey who was shot and killed by police. In Charlotte, North Carolina, after a judge declared a mistrial in the trial of a white Charlotte police officer who killed an unarmed black man, Jonathan Ferrell, BLM protested and staged die-ins. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Janelle Monae, Jidenna and other BLM activists marched through North Philadelphia to bring awareness to police brutality and Black Lives Matter.
In September, BLM activists shut down streets in Toronto, rallied against police brutality, and stood in solidarity with marginalized black lives. Black Lives Matter was a featured part of the Take Back the Night event in Toronto. In Austin, Texas, over five hundred BLM protesters rallied against police brutality, and several briefly carried protest banners onto Interstate 35. In Baltimore, Maryland, BLM activists marched and protested as hearings began in the Freddie Gray police brutalitycase. In Sacramento, California, about eight hundred BLM protesters rallied to support a California Senate bill that would increase police oversight. BLM protested the Shooting of Jeremy McDole. [[
File:Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality (21552438456).jpg|thumb|Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality at Metro Green Line]]
In October, Black Lives Matters activists were arrested during a protest of a police chiefs conference in Chicago. Activists in Los Angeles Black Lives Matter activists were among several organizations that disrupted a community meeting with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at a church in South L.A. The protesters said that Garcetti had broken a promise to work with their organization to plan a meeting. The pastor of the church that hosted the meeting denied that Black Lives Matter organizers had been excluded.
“Rise Up October” straddled the Black Lives Matter Campaign, and brought several protests. Quentin Tarantino andCornel West, participating in “Rise Up October”, decried police violence. A Dunkin Donuts employee in Providence, Rhode Island wrote “black lives matter” on a police officer’s cup of coffee which resulted in protests.[clarification needed] AtUCLA, students protested “Black Bruins Matter” after some students wore blackface to a Kanye West-themed fraternityparty.
In November, BLM activists protested after Jamar Clark was shot by Minneapolis Police Department. A continuous protest was organized at the Minneapolis 4th Precinct Police. During the encamped protest, protestors and outside agitators clashed with police, vandalized the station and attempted to ram the station with an SUV. Later that month a march was organized to honor Jamar Clark, from the 4th Precinct to downtown Minneapolis. After the march, a group of men carrying firearms and body armor appeared and began calling the protesters racial slurs according to a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter. After protesters asked the armed men to leave, the men opened fire, shooting five protesters. All injuries required hospitalization, but were not life-threatening. The men fled the scene only to be found later and arrested. The three men arrested were young and white, and observers called them white supremacists.
In November 2015, students at Dartmouth College held a peaceful meeting and march after a Black Lives Matter art installation on the campus was vandalized. After the march, a smaller group of students entered the university library and conducted a protest there. The Dartmouth Review, a conservative campus publication, reported that the protesters had shoved other students and used profanity. Campus police and college officials claimed they had not observed any incidents of shoving or other physical violence.
In January, hundreds of BLM protesters marched in San Francisco to protest the December 2, 2015 shooting death of Mario Woods, who was shot by San Francisco Police officers. The march was held during a Super Bowl event.
In late May, BLM activists[disputed ] disrupted a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos at DePaul University. Security did not intervene to stop the protests, despite the university requiring organizers to cover the cost of additional security.
On July 7, a sniper attack occurred during a rally in Dallas, Texas that was organized to protest the death of Alton Sterling. Five police officers were killed, and seven wounded. Two civilians were also shot, bringing the total number of victims to fourteen. Initial reports were of multiple coordinated snipers, but officials later reported that the suspect, Micah Johnson, who was killed in the incident, acted alone. Before he died, according to police, Johnson said that “he was upset about Black Lives Matter”, and that “he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” Texas Lt. GovernorDan Patrick and other conservative lawmakers blamed the shootings on the Black Lives Matter movement. The Black Lives Matter network released a statement denouncing the shootings.
2016 presidential election
In the summer of 2015, Black Lives Matter began to publicly challenge politicians—including 2016 United States presidential candidates—to state their positions on BLM issues.
In the first Democratic debate, the presidential candidates were asked whether black lives matter or all lives matter. In reply, Bernie Sanders stated “black lives matter.” Martin O’Malley said, “Black lives matter,” and that the “movement is making is a very, very legitimate and serious point, and that is that as a nation we have undervalued the lives of black lives, people of color.” Jim Webb, on the other hand, replied: “as the president of the United States, every life in this country matters.” Hillary Clinton was not directly asked the same question, but was instead asked: “What would you do for African Americans in this country that President Obama couldn’t?”
In response to what she would do differently from President Obama for African-Americans, Hillary Clinton pushed for criminal justice reform, and said, “We need a new New Deal for communities of color.” Clinton had already met with Black Lives Matter representatives in August 2015, and expressed skepticism in the movement’s practical application.[clarification needed] In June 2015, Clinton was reported to have said “All lives matter.”
Republican candidates have been mostly critical of BLM. In August 2015, Ben Carson, the only African American vying for the presidency, called the movement “silly”. Carson also said that BLM should care for all black lives, not just a few.In the first Republican presidential debate, which took place in Cleveland, only one question referenced Black Lives Matter. In response to the question, Scott Walker did not acknowledge Black Lives Matter and advocated for the proper training of law enforcement.
Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker blamed the movement for rising anti-police sentiment, while Marco Rubio was the first candidate to publicly sympathize with the movement’s point of view.
Several conservative pundits have labeled the movement a “hate group”. Candidate Chris Christie, the New Jersey Governor, criticized President Obama for supporting BLM, claiming the movement calls for the murder of police officers,which was condemned by New Jersey chapters of the NAACP and ACLU.
BLM activists called on the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee to have a presidential debate focused on issues of racial justice. Both parties, however, declined to alter their debate schedule, and instead the parties support a townhall or forum.
At the Netroots Nation Conference in July 2015, dozens of Black Lives Matter activists took over the stage at an event featuring Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders. Activists, including Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, asked both candidates for specific policy proposals to address deaths in police custody. The protesters chanted several slogans, including “if I die in police custody, burn everything down”. After conference organizers pleaded with the protesters for several minutes, O’Malley responded by pledging to release a wide-ranging plan for criminal justice reform. Protesters later booed O’Malley when he stated “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.” O’Malley later apologized for his remarks, saying that he didn’t mean to disrespect the black community.
On August 8, 2015, a speech by Democratic presidential candidate and civil rights activist Bernie Sanders was disrupted by a group from the Seattle Chapter of Black Lives Matter including chapter co-founder Marissa Johnson who walked onstage, seized the microphone from him and called his supporters racists and white supremacists. Sanders issued a platform in response.
Nikki Stephens, the operator of a Facebook page called “Black Lives Matter: Seattle” issued an apology to Sanders’ supporters, claiming these actions did not represent her understanding of BLM. She was then sent messages by members of the Seattle Chapter which she described as threatening, and was forced to change the name of her group to “Black in Seattle”. The founders of Black Lives Matter stated that they had not issued an apology.
In August, activists chanting “Black Lives Matter” interrupted the Las Vegas rally of Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. As Bush exited early, some of his supporters started responding to the protesters by chanting “white lives matter” or “all lives matter”.
In November, a BLM protester was physically assaulted at a Donald Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama. In response, Trump said, “maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” Trump had previously threatened to fight any Black Lives Matter protesters if they attempted to speak at one of his events.
In March 2016, Black Lives Matter helped organize the 2016 Donald Trump Chicago rally protest that forced Trump to cancel the event. Four individuals were arrested and charged in the incident. Two were “charged with felony aggravated battery to a police officer and resisting arrest”, one was “charged with two misdemeanor counts of resisting and obstructing a peace officer”, and the fourth “was charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing a peace officer”. A CBS reporter was one of those arrested outside the rally. He was charged with resisting arrest.
“All Lives Matter”
Some politicians,[who?] critics,[who?] and scholars[who?] have responded to the Black Lives Matter movement by countering that the phrase “All Lives Matter” would be a more proper title. Tim Scott has defended the usage of the “All Lives Matter” term.
On Real Time with Bill Maher Bill Maher expressed support of the “Black Lives Matter” phrase, stating that “‘All Lives Matter’ implies that all lives are equally at risk, and they’re not”. Founders have responded to criticism of the movement’s exclusivity, saying, “#BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean your life isn’t important – it means that Black lives, which are seen without value within White supremacy, are important to your liberation.”
In a video interview with Laura Flanders, Garza discussed how “changing Black Lives Matter to All Lives Matter is a demonstration of how we don’t actually understand structural racism in this country”. She went on to discuss how other lives are valued more than black lives, which she strongly feels is wrong, and that to take blackness out of this equation is inappropriate.
The movement challenges the “universalizing politics” implied in the notion of a Post-racial America, and the phrase ‘All Lives Matter’ reflects a view of “racial dismissal, ignoring, and denial”, according to critical race theory scholar David Theo Goldberg.
President Barack Obama spoke to the debate between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. Obama said, “I think that the reason that the organizers used the phrase Black Lives Matter was not because they were suggesting that no one else’s lives matter … rather what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African American community that’s not happening in other communities.” He also said “that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”
On February 24, 2016, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, sent out a company-wide internal memo to employees formally rebuking employees who had crossed out handwritten “Black Lives Matter” phrases on the company walls and had written “All Lives Matter” in their place. Facebook allows employees to free-write thoughts and phrases on company walls. The memo was then leaked by several employees. As Zuckerberg had previously condemned this practice at previous company meetings, and other similar requests had been issued by other leaders at Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote in the memo that he would now consider this overwriting practice not only disrespectful, but “malicious as well”.
According to Zuckerberg’s memo, “Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean other lives don’t – it’s simply asking that the black community also achieves the justice they deserve.” The memo noted that the act of crossing something out in itself, “means silencing speech, or that one person’s speech is more important than another’s”.
African-American critics of the movement include neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, minister Johnathan Gentry of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, and author and minister Barbara Ann Reynolds.
Deroy Murdock questioned the number of black people killed by police that is reported by BLM. He wrote, “But the notion that America’s cops simply are gunning down innocent black people is one of today’s biggest and deadliest lies.” The hashtag #BlueLivesMatter was created by supporters who stood up for police officers’ lives. Some critics also accuse Black Lives Matter of “anti-white and anti-police radicalism”.
Many individuals in law enforcement have been critical of BLM. Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr of Milwaukee County has been critical of Black Lives Matter, stating that there is no police brutality problem in America and that “there is no racism in the hearts of police officers”. John McWhorter said that the Black Lives Matter movement should take on black-on-black crime.
Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman said about the “Black Lives Matter” movement, “I dealt with a best friend getting killed, and it was [by] two 35-year-old black men. There was no police officer involved, there wasn’t anybody else involved, and I didn’t hear anybody shouting ‘black lives matter’ then.”
Some black civil rights leaders, such as Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray, Najee Ali, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, have criticized the tactics of BLM. Marchers using a BLM banner were recorded in a video chanting, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” at the Minnesota State Fair. Law enforcement groups said that the chant promotes death to police. The protest organizer disputed that interpretation.
A North Carolina police chief retired after calling BLM a terrorist group. A police officer in Oregon was removed from street duty following a social media post in which he said he would have to “babysit these fools”, in reference to planned BLM event.
Some commentators and law enforcement have said that BLM has made it hard for police to do their job, leading to a rise in crime rates. Commentators have referred to this as the “Ferguson effect.” FBI Director James Comey, for example, suggested that the movement is partly leading to a national rise in crime rates because police officers have pulled back from doing their jobs. However, there had been even larger crime spikes prior to the events in Ferguson.
In response to BLM, Facebook pages purporting to represent “White Student Unions” with the slogan “White Lives Matter” have been linked to college campuses in the United States. The pages often promise a “safe space” for white students and condemn alleged anti-white racism on campus. However, many of the groups were not verified as legitimate student organizations registered with their respective universities.
- Black Lives Matter appeared in an episode of Law & Order: SVU.
- The TV drama Scandal depicted Black Lives Matter on their March 5, 2015, episode that showed an unarmed black teen shot by a police officer.
- The documentary short film Bars4Justice features brief appearances by various activists and recording artists affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. The film is an official selection of the 24th Annual Pan African Film Festival.