The BLM Movement Doesn’t Stop with Media Coverage

Photo+by+Brooks+Kahsai

Photo by Brooks Kahsai

Brooks Kahsai and Brooks Kahsai

By Brooks Kahsai

Summer 2020, millions of Americans took part in some of the biggest protests of our generation, in support of black men and women who face police brutality. Support for the BLM movement rose 13% among all American adults between May and June 2020 according to pewresearch.org, but has since steadily declined, both on social media popularity, and in protest participants.

The decline in performative activism may be due to the continual decline of media coverage over the issue, which in turn has implied to the people that the goal of BLM has been achieved; this is simply not the case, as the battle for equality has not slowed down. It must be known that while people may not be hearing about Black Lives Matter on the news as much, if at all, movements don’t just end when the media coverage does.

In Seattle, BLM protests have not stopped. Seattleites have been taking to the streets most, if not all days of the week for months since June to support Black Lives Matter and they show no signs of slowing down. Media coverage has mainly been via social media, but protestors continue to combat inequality with the same dedication we all saw in 2020. 

Thanks to their efforts, as of January 2021, Seattle has ordered $82,000 for contempt-of-court violations to be paid by the Seattle Police Department. Misuse of pepper spray, rubber bullets and blast balls against protestors during the George Floyd protests would fall under that category.

To add on, the official Black Lives Matter organization has been very invested in the political world given the ever-growing need to reshape laws to provide more protections for BIPOC citizens across the U.S.. As a result, the organization was very supportive of the Biden-Trump campaign. 

Following the news of Biden’s win Nov. 7, BLM congratulated him and vice president Kamala Harris on Twitter, and called for a meeting with the new administration shortly after the election to discuss social reforms for underrepresented communities; this meeting has yet to occur as of February 2021.

“In short, Black people won this election. Alongside Black-led organizations around the nation, Black Lives Matter invested heavily in this election … We want something for our vote. We want to be heard and our agenda to be prioritized,”  Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of BLM, wrote in her letter calling for a meeting with Biden and Harris.

Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election also brought on protests in Los Angeles for the new president to exclude mayor Eric Garcetti from his administration. 

Garcetti is an infamous name among BLM supporters for his poor handling of the LA homelessness crisis, the criminalization of protesting following the George Floyd protests and his loose grip on the LAPD’s power over the people despite his vocal condemnation of police brutality. 

When news broke of his potential to be the new secretary of transportation, protests were held outside Garcetti’s home to prevent him from further influencing the Los Angeles community in his current position as mayor. 

Months later, in February 2021, the newly inaugurated president Biden ultimately chose formal rival Pete Buttigieg over Garcetti for the position of secretary of transportation, slimming the latter’s chances of entering the cabinet this term.

On top of it all, in January 2021, BLM’s efforts over the years were recognized as the organization was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize of 2021 by Norweigian representative Petter Eide.

According to The Guardian, Eide shared in his written nomination, “Awarding the peace prize to Black Lives Matter, as the strongest global force against racial injustice, will send a powerful message that peace is founded on equality, solidarity and human rights, and that all countries must respect those basic principles.” 

The fight for racial equality continues on to this day. To the people who continue to march and protest, it’s someone’s life, millions of lives that people are demanding justice and equality for. It’s a force that can move millions of people. That doesn’t just end when the media stops talking, and just because they do doesn’t mean that there is no impact.