Four years ago, one of the most controversial deaths of the decade kicked off the movement that we know today as Black Lives Matter movement. It all started with Florida teen, Trayvon Martin, when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman on February 26th, 2012. George Zimmerman was acquitted (found not guilty) and many Black mothers in the state of Florida took to Instagram and twitter with the #BlackLivesMatter. This incident went viral after millions of people also shared their condolences to the Martin family. The rest was history.
My name is Rahmir Powell, and this is my ‘You & The World’ Project. My topic is the history of the Black Lives Matter Movement. I would like to start by informing you with all of the statistics I’ve pulled from my research. Since 2015, 59 of the largest police departments have killed over 1,000 people. In 2015 and 2016, over 400 African Americans were killed by police. Over 50% of the 400 were between the ages of 18-29 and around 20% were unarmed. According to this site, 368 African Americans have been killed by police in this year alone. According to this site, blacks are 3 times more likely to die by police than whites. These numbers should not represent our nation.
In my more recent research, I read that the BLM Movement in Philadelphia has been recently banning whites from attending their rallies. The media did not like this decision and in a blog by BillyPenn, the coordinators of the Movement have responded by saying “You can help us in other ways.” I understand the decision of banning whites, but I don’t fully agree with it. This movement was brought together by compassion for one another. We should let people of all races and backgrounds come together because our Nation is ‘United’. I’ve also read that about 2,000 protesters meet in Philadelphia every Sunday, to honor Trayvon Martin, who died on a Sunday. Shall we proceed?
Now that that's out of the way, I want to talk about my personal connection to this topic. Have you ever been hurt by something, but you can’t do anything to fix it? That’s how I feel every time I hear about another brother or sister being killed by shameless police officers. Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, and many more. When the project was introduced to me, this was the first thing to come to mind. As an African American myself, I felt inclined to take on this redundant issue and run with it. I intend to get as much research as possible because knowledge is my weapon. The more I know, the more differences I can make.
These issues are significant because police should be protecting us, not killing us. Although this is a well-known topic, more people should be aware of how real Police Brutality is. It could happen to anyone and I know that there are good cops, but your straw could be pulled at any time. Hopefully those who follow me on this journey will be inspired to help raise awareness and support.
In conclusion, I’m glad that I have the opportunity to give back to my culture. Thank you for reading all the way to the end. If you have any questions you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Before you go, ask yourself, ‘Am I a Bystander?’ If your answer was yes, then what are you waiting for?! Go out and make a difference.
If you want more information, check out my annotated bibliography here.