Understand That Black Lives Matter


Liana Melecio

Hudson residents stand in unity at Black Lives Matter protest, June 8, 2020 | by Liana Melecio

Taking a knee originated from the football player Colin Kapernick when he took a knee during the national anthem in 2016 to protest against police brutality. Kaepernick said at the time, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. In 2020 taking a knee became more popular following the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed at the hands of a white police officer. 

The movement that started with Kaepernick taking a knee has served to highlight the long history of racism in our country, a problem that America must face and which is brought to our attention today in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. 

Many criticize the BLM movement saying that BLM protesters are looting, trespassing and destroying small businesses. This is only one of the more common misconceptions, another being that people believe that saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ means that we believe only Black lives matter. 

Several news outlets including ABC in a piece from July 29, 2020 revealed white supremacists broke in and destroyed many small businesses and stores and falsely accused BLM protestors of doing it. Of course all lives matter, but all lives aren’t endangered right now like Black lives are. 

One incident that shows us systemic racism is that just weeks ago Trump supporters got into the U.S. Capitol building with hardly any security to oppose them, but BLM protestors never did that and won’t endanger the lives of people that we need in our government. At every BLM protest there were many police officers, so if it was BLM protestors at the capitol building, it would’ve been a different situation and there would’ve been plenty of police officers that day.

 A June 1, 2020 NPR article examined the violent treatment of BLM protestors who were cleared by police to make way for Trump to do a photo-op at St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C. The most important thing is that even during BLM protests, violence against Black people is still happening. It hasn’t stopped.

The Black Lives Matter movement is spreading and athletes are leading the way.

In August of last year, according to Dylon Scott in his article for Vox, the Milwaukee Bucks were supposed to play the first round of playoffs with the Orlando Magic but they didn’t come out to play that night because they were boycotting the game and taking a stance against the unlawful shooting of a yet another innocent Black man.

Earlier that night a young Black man Jacob Blake, twenty-nine, was shot in the back seven times by a white officer and was later paralyzed. Three of Blake’s sons were in the backseat of his car while this took place. Within a matter of hours, the entire Wednesday slate of playoff games had been postponed.

It is essential that we recognize what is happening today and what has happened in our past as Black people. We need to show what we can do to change discrimination and racism everywhere.

Can you imagine a world where people aren’t treated differently because of the color of their skin; where I can walk down the street with a bag of Skittles and not be fatally shot (Trayvon Martin)? Or go on a jog around a neighborhood and not be killed (Ahmaud Arbery)? Or to lay in bed with my significant other and not have the police barge in my house and fire six bullets at my body (Breonna Taylor)? Yet, in the real world, I could have a cop, someone who is supposed to protect me, place his knee on my neck, and when I tell him I can’t breathe, he does nothing (George Floyd).

If I can’t have a future without being discriminated against because of my skin color, what is the point of looking forward to a future in this country that you want but cannot have?