Justina B. Michigan

Black Lives Matter

A little more information on how the organization started and why it is important.

Dear Future President,

The topic of Black Lives Matter always starts with the tragedy that happened on August 9th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. But how did #BlackLivesMatter start? One facebook post. Alicia Garza was the one who started it all. One post was all it took. There are many other cases similar to Michael Brown’s. In fact, according to mappingpoliceviolence.org, six other innocent people of color lost their lives to police shootings in just the month of December of 2015. In order to prevent future murder, more people need to get involved.

When researching this topic I came across a website called mappingpoliceviolence.org. Some of the facts I uncovered we're quite shocking. Did you know that in the year 2015, one in three black people killed by police were unarmed? Well, did you know that out of the 102 cases of an unarmed African Americans being killed, only 10 resulted in the officers charged with the crime. Out of these 10, only two officers got convicted.

When is it going to stop?

One name that may or may not be familiar is Eric Garner.  The police know him as the man who was selling untaxed cigarettes.  One day -July 17 to be exact-  two police officers decided to get out and choke Eric.  One of Eric's friends happened to be catching the whole thing on video.  The last words of Eric was, "I can't breathe". 

Another hashtag has been brought up by people recently. This is the #AllLivesMatter movement. It can be interesting because there are two kinds of people that are in the movement; people who want peace and people who are ripping on the Black Lives Matter movement. The people who think they are supporting peace need to consider this: Yes, all lives matter, but the reason #BlackLivesMatter was created is because they are the group that is oppressed. We don’t need a hashtag supporting everyone because not everyone is oppressed.

I believe what is happening is wrong and needs more support in order to stop it. There are many people that still aren't aware -or at least in denial- that a new civil rights movement is happening.  I recently heard part of a speech about black lives matter when I was surfing through social media.  I heard a man say, "Black lives matter.  It's not because others don't; it's simply because we must affirm that we are worthy of existing without fear."  I found this very powerful and I couldn't put it in better words.  

I may be white.  Yes, I will never be able to even comprehend what it is like to be discriminated against everyday.  However, I do see it happening.  And I am not just going to sit here and watch it happen. Something needs to be done.  And this starts with you.  

Now you might be thinking, “Well, what’s your point?” My point is to make you aware that these things are happening. Don’t get me wrong, I do not think all police officers are racist and bad. I believe that the ones that are, need to be punished. And to do this, I need to make you aware. Together we can end this oppression. Together we can end the violence. Together we can stop the hate.


 Justina Bissett

Oakland Writing Project (Michigan) - CASA

CASA - AP Lang

9th-12th grade students who come from 3 different schools.

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