Black lives still matter: Refocusing the spotlight

Maya Crawford, Graphics Editor

The election and the pandemic have completely taken everyone’s attention as far as news-related events, but we cannot forget what needs more coverage right now. 

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has been shoved to the background since the election began, and it needs to be brought back to the front of our attention as a nation.

2019 was an instrumental year of progress for the BLM movement. Thousands of protests, both peaceful and nonpeaceful, filled the streets of every city in the United States after the murder of George Floyd by police hands. The BLM movement was finally getting recognized on a national scale, and for a while it seemed the civil rights of people of color were making real progress. 

For the first time in decades, black people were making it known that we won’t just be killed in cool blood and broad daylight without some retaliation,” said Loy Norrix senior Princess-J’maria Mboup. “It’s about time we stopped caring about what people who want us gone or dead think about us and make the change we want to see happen ourselves.”

And then, as all news does, it faded away to make room for other current events. This has been a constant pattern with the attention the BLM movement receives, and it needs to stop. People stop paying attention as soon as the news moves on, but civil rights cannot be something that loses momentum. 

It is aggravating,” said Loy Norrix senior Josratu Bangura. “It’s as if the Black Lives Matter, #ICantBreathe and Breonna Taylor movements were just trends for people to hop on, and then once it isn’t all over social media, it’s as if it doesn’t exist anymore.” 

Even while the movement was receiving national attention, it wasn’t always portrayed the way it needed to be. 

The mainstream media had condemned police brutality on both sides [liberal and conservative], but failed to recognize why they are doing what they are doing and focus on making it political,” said Bangura. 

Many political figures hijacked the movement to endorse their own agendas instead of doing something about the very thing the BLM movement stands for. 

“The truth was being omitted as always. Racists think you’re violent and aggressive either way so trying to “be the bigger person” is pointless.” said Mboup. “So, I find it upsetting but at the same time, the problem isn’t people not knowing anymore, we have awareness. The problem is that nothing is being done.”

According to the Howard University of Law, the BLM movement was created by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi in 2013 after George Zimmerman got off scot free of charge for murdering an unarmed Trayvon Martin in 2012. The movement was created to push for justice for black lives and to eliminate white supremacy that threatens the lives of people of color (POC) every day. 

“It [The BLM movement] has made some of my friends that are non-POC realize these issues, and they are educating themselves more,” said Bangura. “I think it has also made people in general just realize that even if something is happening to you or directly impacting you, it is still very important and you can do something to make a change.” 

According to CBS News, 164 people of color have been murdered by police since the start of 2020. 

The BLM movement cannot be swept under the rug any longer. The fact that African Americans are still being murdered in the streets just for the color of their skin proves that we are not done fighting for their civil rights. 

“I think if young people do what they do best and make commotion, starting change, then we can get helpful coverage once again. Also, if people with bigger platforms seek out opportunities to work with political figures or put actual pressure on them to do their job, it may make people actually change something.” said Mboup. “Ultimately, young people acting on their young ideas draws attention.”

Black lives matter, they always have, and they always will. We cannot allow the deaths of black citizens if we are supposed to be a free nation with justice for all.