Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a social activism movement based on the principle that black rights are human rights, and that human rights are black rights. The disproportionate cases of violence inflicted upon the black community calls on everyday Americans to demand justice, reform, and change. In addition, other aspects of black lives have also suffered as a result of systemic racism: environmentally, educationally, and economically.
The BLM movement was founded in 2013 in response to the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black boy shot and killed in Sanford, Florida, by George Zimmerman for “looking suspicious,” a far too common excuse made by white perpetrators of violence against the black community as a way to distract from the actual motivation: racism.
In response, activists Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi started the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in mourning and outrage, which quickly gained traction on social media. The movement gained recognition in 2014 for involvement in protests and demonstrations responding to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
We are hundreds of years past slavery. We are only decades past legalized black suffrage. Hate groups that support white supremacy and inflict violence to support their beliefs are still at large, and many have yet to be officially labeled as terrorist organizations. Lynchings of black people are still happening across the United States. Until we demonstrate black people to be as equally American in every regard and in every major facet of society — including education, medicine, and law enforcement — there is no “liberty and justice for all.” Being black should never be a crime, and yet it still is all over America. We as a country must do better. We’ve never lived up to the ideals we were founded on, but we don’t have to walk away from them. This isn’t a political issue — it’s a human rights one.
With the recent surge of protests against police brutality in light of the murder of George Floyd has also come an influx in coronavirus cases due to a large number of gathered people in one area, usually not following social distancing and unequipped with PPEs. Representatives from our team attend protests and supply protestors with masks to keep safe those who fight for the safety of others.
We must not forget that COVID-19 is still at large. MHI encourages that protesters practice all safety precautions when demanding justice. You wearing a mask doesn’t protect yourself, but it does protect others from you if you are a COVID-19 carrier. If everyone wears a mask, then everyone is protected from each other, meaning everyone is much safer.
The MHI team is looking into making sure that hospitals and businesses that serve the black community are also equipped with masks. Studies show that the black community makes up more than twice the number of COVID-19 cases of all other racial and ethnic groups, and five times more deaths.
MHI needs your support to ensure that protesters are demanding justice safely during this pandemic. Americans shouldn’t have to choose between their First Amendment rights and their health. We need your help to provide masks to anyone who wishes to exercise their First Amendment right to protest.