Donovan Martin ’22
This question causes strife among all peoples on Earth. First, it must be established that the life of each human is equal. This might seem to be a plea in support of the term ‘All Lives Matter,’ but quite the contrary is true. All lives matter, or ALM, means not what you think.
ALM was created in direct response to the Black Lives Matter or BLM movement to diminish and demean their efforts. ALM has the sole purpose of suppressing Black voices and continues to be a dog whistle for white supremacists. With the American Capitol insurrection in 2021 and Canadian road occupations by ‘Freedom Truckers,’ it’s evident that right-wing populism’s favour in the Western world grows. In turn, we must refute misguided and racist ideas. The term BLM was invented in 2013 after the 18th Circuit Court of Florida acquitted George Zimmerman for his shooting of Trayvon Martin. BLM is not used to demean other races nor declare Black supremacy. Instead, it acknowledges that the systems in place directly harm Black people. BLM does not mean ‘Black lives matter more,’ but rather, ‘Black lives matter too.’
Since its conception, it grew in popularity, especially with the hashtags #BLM and #BlackLivesMatter on social media. With support, BLM developed into a loosely-structured grassroots movement. Since then, they have amassed millions of dollars in donations. They use the money to help combat the effects of redlining, improve the education system, and reform policing—commonly, by bill proposal in the American senate. In 2020, various protests for the unjust killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breana Taylor, and many more black individuals by police forces occurred. One of the most prominent bodies that organized BLM protests would be the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL).
Though M4BL is an American organization, the BLM movement is present in nearly every continent. Neither BLM nor M4BL has ever advocated for attacks, rioting, or looting. Despite some individuals doing so under the name of BLM, the movement has condemned that violence. However, there have been many attempts to defame BLM as an instigator of brutality. The most infamous example would be at the Charlottesville Riot in August 2017. In the Virginian city, numerous white supremacists made ludicrous claims, the most common being, “The BLM agenda was to end white people.” Such a statement is entirely erroneous.
BLM has always been a phrase to combat racial injustice in society, not start a race war. As many injustices converge, BLM is often co-opted by organizations in support of feminism, LGBTQ+ activism, immigration reform, and economic justice, and most commonly, alongside police reform. ALM seems intrinsically true, demeans all activism and the very intent of BLM. ALM does not support the protection of caring for all lives. Instead, it propagates the false narrative that BLM supports racism or intolerance.
Photo Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas, Getty Images