Since the conversation about police brutality was reignited by the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, people nationwide have once again come together to protest and reaffirm the importance of black lives. But as the Black Lives Matter movement has grown, it has at times become mischaracterized and some people have lost sight of the true meaning behind the phrase “black lives matter.”
The Huffington Post spoke with activists, journalists and organizers to set the record straight about the movement.
“Black Lives Matter is first and foremost an affirmation. It is a love note to ourselves from us to us,” Nakisha Lewis, an organizer with New York City’s Black Lives Matter chapter, says in the video above.
The movement was founded by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors in hopes of speaking out against the “unjust killings of black men and women,” The Huffington Post’s Lilly Workneh adds. The women, who designed the hashtag to be inclusive, coined the phrase “black lives matter” after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
“We are focusing on the issues of black incarcerated folks, formerly incarcerated folks, black folks who are documented and undocumented, who are working class who are poor, who are unemployed, who are cis-gender and trans gender and gender non-conforming,” Monica Dennis, another organizer with Black Lives Matter, says.
Ultimately the movement promotes solidarity and racial justice in the face of state violence.
“Black Lives Matter is about peace. It’s about bringing people together. It’s about fighting for justice. It’s about solidarity and it’s about unity,” Workneh states.
Hear more about the Black Lives Matter in the movement above.
This video was produced by Jacques Morel, edited by Kohar Minassian and shot by Steve Gatti and Sam Wilkes.