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The Birth and Direction of the Black Lives Matter Movement

Published by Foreign Affairs Bulletin by IDSA on

The Black Lives Matter movement was born 7 years ago…


…following the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, and the subsequent acquittal of his killer. American civil rights activist Alicia Garza created a Facebook post named ‘A love letter to Black people’, and this was followed by a friend of hers reposting it with the hashtag: black lives matter. Soon, it became a whole brand: its reach was growing astoundingly throughout the USA. The movement has dealt with many relevant topics for Black Americans, and from the beginning was strongly connected to a discussion about the police force and their practices. The exact content has changed over the course of years, but the movement remained to be one of the  most influential ones dealing with the topic.

In the first couple of years, the movement was mainly American, but two radical events catalysed its spread globally: the election of Donald Trump, and the breakout of COVID-19. In 2020, the movement gained attention around the world after the recorded killing George Floyd. This sparked a series of rallies and demonstrations both in the USA and globally, likes of which has never been seen before. For a few months, COVID-19 was almost forgotten, whilst all the media was dealing with the movement- Black Lives Matter became the most important issue. 

Right now, however, the rallies and the outrage seem to set, so the question stands: how much effect did the recent events have on racial injustice in the long-term? And how can we measure these? One way to consider the effects of the heightened BLM movement is analysing the upcoming elections. There is reason to be hopeful, the movement has fired up some voters, and the overall number of registered voters is rising steadily.


— Lili Szentkiralyi is a Business and Economics Major at Corvinus University of Budapest, with special interests in sustainability in economic and development policy —