New York – Black Lives Matter has been many things in his short and intense life.
It has been a slogan, a meeting point. A movement that has produced protests from coast to coast, demanding that the United States take a serious stance to prevent the deaths of African Americans at the hands of the authorities. A heaven sent resource for people like Helen Jones, who is desperately seeking justice after her son passed away in a Los Angeles County jail.
“Black Lives Matter saved us, because we had no one,” Jones said.RELATED
Now, the movement’s influence is being tested as voters in the nation’s presidential elections consider candidates who supported or criticized the Black Lives Matter amid nationwide recognition of the race.
“We are a very young organization with a lot of visibility in a very short period of time,” Patrisse Cullors, one of the three founders of the BLM, told The Associated Press. It would be “false”, he pointed out, for someone to say that it is due “only because of what happens around this electoral cycle.”
And indeed, many Republican and Democratic candidates seeking federal, state, and local positions have moved toward the center of politics or further to the right, making it clear that they “back the blue” —that is, the military forces. law enforcement – or rejecting calls to withdraw funds from the police. Neither President Donald Trump nor Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden would cut police budgets in local communities.
However, there are reasons for BLM supporters to be optimistic, some activists noted. The group has money, which it is using in the hope of playing an important role in the elections. There are a growing number of candidates who have been nurtured, inspired or endorsed by the movement. For example, residents of the Saint Louis metropolitan area are confident they will vote for Cori Bush, a Ferguson protester seeking a seat in federal Congress.
“For the first time, people can hear and consider candidates who will come out and acknowledge the fact that the police commit crimes against people of black or brown race,” said Tiffany Cabán, an organizer with the Working Families Party and who helped the party will recruit prosecutors with progressive ideas.
In the blink of an eye, the BLM has gone from being a social media hashtag to a highly influential movement and an organization with millions of dollars at its disposal to drive the messages about taking funds away from police departments as a way to address systematic racism.
The movement began just seven years ago, amid the anger of its organizers over the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.