2020 was a crucial year for social justice in the United States. Breonna Taylor was killed by the police in Louisville on March 13. Not long after, the world watched as George Floyd was killed by the police on May 25.
Tension has been built up for years with the multitude of Black Americans being killed at the hands of police. Streets were filled with protestors of all races throughout the country and throughout the world and social media was flooded with #BLM hashtags and internet performances showing support.
After months of displays, the discussion and protests died down and people slowly stopped talking about the issues. This is a reminder that Black lives still matter and must be a frequent topic for the betterment of Black Americans’ circumstances. Black Lives Matter is not simply an organization or trend, it is a priority and a mission that must be reinforced until an actual change in society is made.
Recent reports have shown that the support for the Black Lives Matter movement has slowly declined since it’s peak in June of 2020. Nobody in the U.S. was privy to George Floyd’s murder, as the video showed police officer Derek Chauvin kneel on his neck for 8 minutes.
In 1991, Rodney King was assaulted by police officers on camera. Like Floyd’s murder, riots spread after King’s attack. The fact that everyone had video access to both incidents caused anger within the Black community, only with Floyd’s murder, it led to other nations getting involved.
Protests occurred in countries such as the United States, England, South Korea, Italy, Sweden. “I Can’t Breathe” signs were a global item. Videos were posted in different languages talking about this injustice in U.S. history.
For months, there was growing support.
With all the chaos surrounding the question, “Do Black Lives Matter,” young Black people were experiencing a major shift in their life. UA freshman Timira Lawson says that the summer of 2020 was a traumatizing experience.
“I felt like it was extremely harsh and it could have been handled differently,” Lawson said. “Now we are more afraid of cops than ever and it was sad to see people injured and killed.”
As protests died down and people stopped making posts, the summer of 2020 became a dark memory for most people. Soon #BLM was taken out of celebrities’ Instagram bios and the cities were being cleaned up. Many people felt it was no longer their obligation to openly show support.
UA sophomore Spencer Lott believes that people didn’t take the protests and issues seriously and simply wanted to keep a clean record.
“I do believe that to an extent people hopped onto it, kind of like a bandwagon,” Lott said. “Most of it felt really shallow and not genuine, and many of the events felt very temporary and only after tragedies these issues are talked about.”
People slowly forgot the traumatic experience of that summer and moved on with their lives. But for Black people, 2020 still lingers. The question ‘Do Black Lives Matter?’ provokes the option that Black Lives could be worthless, an idea that has emotionally damaged many Black people in the U.S.
The question became more politicized than socially relevant. With the political system not built in Black people’s favor, they’re forced to tolerate unnecessary evils. Police brutality happens often and blatant racism is extremely prevalent in the modern day.
There are many people still fighting for justice despite the BLM “trend” of 2020 being over. Black Lives Matter needs more than just black square posts, and social media dances, and catchphrases, but systemic changes for the benefit of all Black people.