Black Lives Matter

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

Author and references


  • The origins of the movement
  • George Floyd and Black Lives Matter in America and around the world
  • Il Black Lives Matter e lo sport

Now the expression Black Lives Matter (in English 'The Lives of Blacks Matter') resounds in every corner of the world as a real battle cry and has become the official motto of the homonymous American activist movement that fights in defense of the African American population, subject to discrimination and abuse by the police and judicial system of the United States.

The origins of the movement

The Black Lives Matter movement hit the headlines in the spring of 2020, but its origins date back to a few years ago. In 2013 the American citizen George zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges against a young African-American who died in a firefight in 2012. The first tweets with the hashtag soon appeared on social media #blacklivesmatter, launched on the initiative of three black women.

Subsequently, in the main American cities, the first peaceful protests began following attacks against African-American people.

The anti-racist movement of Black Lives Matter has not developed a real official management structure but over the years has extended its organization into at least 30 local sections.

Opponents of the movement think that it is not useful for the defense of black American women but that it only has the effect of fomenting hatred of the police.

The symbol of Black Lives Matter   

Black Lives Matter activists often parade through the streets with their fist raised and just one black fist has become the symbol of the American movement. This image appears frequently on billboards and banners but has a long history behind it.

The logo had already been used since Black Panther Party, a political organization born in 1966 to defend the civil rights of African Americans but, unlike Martin Luther King, the Black Panthers did not reject violence as a form of struggle. One of the most significant moments took place in 1968 at the Olympics Mexico City. During the awards ceremony, athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith wore black gloves and at the time of the hymn they both raised their fists.  

The same Nelson Mandela, when he was released from prison in 1990 after 27 years in prison, he raised his fist at his wife in triumph. Over the years this symbol has accompanied all kinds of protests against racism and since 2013 it has become the emblem of Black Lives Matter.      

Black Lives Matter in 2020

“I Can't Breathe” are the last words spoken in May 2020 in Minneapolis by George floyd, a black man killed by a police officer who pressed his knee to his neck in a detention. One story has rekindled the spotlight on the problem of racism in America and, on this occasion, Black Lives Matter has once again stood up in defense of the victim. The phrase “I Can't Breathe is repeated as a cry of protest and is also written on the masks used for the prevention of contagion from covid-19.

Since May 2020 they have been held daily marches, sit-ins, torchlight processions and street protests to ask that these things never happen again. However, George Floyd's death also triggered riots and looting on the streets, so much so that a curfew was declared in many American cities and the National Guard was alerted.

Chi era George Floyd

George Floyd was 46 and originally from Texas. After graduating in 1993 he devoted himself to music, becoming a member of a rap group. In 2007 he was arrested for robbery and sentenced, after two years, to 5 years in prison.

In 2014 George Floyd moved to Minnesota and began working as a night watchman in Minneapolis. Father of two children aged 6 and 22, shortly before his death he had lost his job due to the coronavirus epidemic and was in economic difficulties in recent times.

George Floyd's death in Minnesota

George Floyd's death in Minneapolis occurred on 25 Maggio 2020. That day the policemen had been alerted following a complaint about Floyd's attempted payment with counterfeit banknotes. The first police car stopped the man and ordered him to get out of the car. According to witnesses, he did not resist and was handcuffed without difficulty.

In the meantime, a second car had also arrived with other agents and then a third. Agents Thao and Chauvin descended from the latter and made George Floyd lie face down. Chauvin stopped him by doing pressure with the knee on the neck for nearly 10 minutes and it was at this point that Floyd began to feel sick. The man complained of difficulty in breathing but no one paid him any attention. After he lost consciousness an ambulance was immediately alerted but there was nothing they could do as George Floyd died in the hospital at 21:25 that evening.  

A few hours later, a fuss of controversy arose on social media as a large number of Youtube videos who resumed the moment of arrest on the street. It was not even easy to reconstruct the events of that day and some elements have been clarified thanks to the reconstruction of New York Times on the George Floyd case. The amateur videos shot by passers-by and those of the security cameras were fundamental.

After Floyd's death, the mayor of Minneapolis decided to fire the 4 agents involved in the tragedy, who were then indicted for manslaughter. At the same time, a heated political debate on the police force and on the need for a decisive and profound reform of the system to prevent abuses of power has been triggered in the United States.

George Floyd and Black Lives Matter in America and around the world

George Floyd's death triggered a strong wave of peaceful but also violent protests that shook the whole of the United States. The first demonstrations began the day after the incident, following the viral spread of videos showing Floyd's assault.

From Minneapolis, the wave of Black Lives Matter has spread like wildfire across the country, involving major American cities such as New York, New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Atlanta, Phoenix , Seattle, Dallas, Chicago and many more. Particularly moving was the public commemoration of May 27 in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, on many occasions the rallies have degenerated into assaults, clashes with the police and looting of shops. The President Trump he chose to deploy the army in Washington to counter the actions of the demonstrators that took place a short distance from the White House.

However, the rest of the world was not indifferent to the death of George Floyd and in several countries there were marches and protests against racism. Meanwhile, unprecedented word of mouth has started on social media, with a series of activities aimed at raising awareness on the issue of racial discrimination. For example, a support campaign was launched on Instagram in which users were invited to post a black photo accompanied by the hashtag #blacklivesmatter or #BLM.

Il Black Lives Matter e lo sport

Many personalities from the sports world have mobilized themselves in order not to turn off the attention on George Floyd e il Black Lives Matter. The players ofNBA, led by star Lebron James, officially supported the initiatives of the activist movement and many of them got into the habit of kneeling during the national anthem.

Likewise, the F1 champion Lewis Hamilton he showed solidarity with George Floyd and Black Lives Matter, involving his fellow drivers and members of the various teams. Instead the main ones football championships of Europe they supported the cause by wearing celebratory t-shirts or by printing the phrase on official game uniforms.

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