On 26 February 2001, Trayvon Martin, 17, went to purchase Skittles and some iced Tea.
He was walking to the home of his father’s fiancee in Sanford, Florida when he was stopped by the neighbourhood watch coordinator.
George Zimmerman, his killer, was later acquitted of second-degree murder. This sparked the Black Lives Matter movement .
Martin would have been 27 years old on February 5, 2007. These are the most significant moments in the global racial justice movement since Martin’s death ten years ago.
A group of young people, the Dream Defenders, marched from Daytona Beach Florida towards Sanford in the spring after Martin’s passing.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in the US to demand “justice for Trayvon” after Zimmerman was acquitted. This was on self-defence grounds.
For a month the Dream Defenders occupied Florida State Capitol, demanding that the Stand Your Ground law be repealed. This law allows for self-defence using lethal force when law-abiding citizens are afraid their lives may be in danger.
Alicia Garza, founder of BLM wrote a post on Facebook that she called “a love note to Black people”. It was shared online via Patrisse, who also added the hashtag BlackLivesMatter. Opal Tometi (a friend) also created BlackLivesMatter.com.
In July, Eric Garner, 43 years old, was wrestled to the ground and put in a chokehold by New York Police officers. After saying 11 times, “I can’t breath”, he died.
In August, a white officer shot and killed Michael Brown, a black teenager from Ferguson, Missouri. These deaths led to a rapid growth in the Black Lives Matter movement. A Freedom Ride was organized to Ferguson, and there was a increase in the use hashtag on Twitter.
The hashtag was used more than 1.7 million times in the three weeks following the grand jury’s decision not to indict Brown’s officer. It was used 189,000 times in a single day following Garner’s death.
Protests erupted in North Charleston after Walter Scott was shot in the back by an officer of the white police force. BLM demonstrators demanded justice for their cause and an end to discrimination. Protests were held after the deaths Freddie Gray and Meagan Hokaday both of whom died in police custody.
After protests in Baton Rouge for the death of Alton Sterling , Philando Castile was killed during a traffic stop. Four NBA basketball players, LeBron James (Carmelo Anthony), Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade, opened an awards ceremony on July 14th with a plea for justice.
Wade stated that “The racial profiling must stop.” Wade stated that the shooting to kill mentality must stop. It is unacceptable to ignore the importance of Black and Brown bodies. Retaliation must also stop. It must stop the endless gun violence in cities like Chicago, Dallas, and Orlando. Enough. Enough is enough.
The NFL’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick took the symbolic knee before the national anthem, a silent protest that would be heard around the globe.
In June, hundreds of protestors marched through Minnesota after the officer who had shot Castile was not found guilty.
Another fatal shooting of unarmed Stephon CLARK occurred as the Black Lives Matter Movement celebrated five years. This sparked protests even more.
In February, 21 Savage, a rapper, was taken into custody by the US immigration agent. Cullors, co-founder of BLM, mobilized support by celebrities and human rights groups, with a #Free21Savage Campaign that led to his release on bond.
On March 10, Breonna Taylor, a medical technician , was shot by police at her Louisville home . This sparked protests asking for the public’s support to “say her Name”.
Black Lives Matter was made global by the death of George Floyd. Video captured Derek Chauvin, a police officer, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes.
At a London protest, Star Wars actor John Boyega gave an emotional speech.
Black Lives Matter was Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for raising awareness about racial injustice.
To cheers outside, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. According to the lawyer for the family, it was a turning point in US History.
Partnering for Racial Justice in Business, a program of the World Economic Forum, aims to eradicate all forms of systemic racism at work. Learn more about the impact of this initiative here.