Heads Up: What Exactly Is Black Lives Matter?

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In the fall of 2014 many of us began seeing #BlackLivesMatter on our facebook and twitter feeds. We began hearing those words on tv and we probably began diving into conversation sparked by those words among friends and family. A year and a half later these words are still being uttered and they have served to initiate conversations ranging from civil to downright hostile and from the dinner table all the way to the national platform. What began as a hashtag has undoubtedly evolved into a movement, while more and more people are asking the question, What is Black Lives Matter?

I was first introduced to the movement (as opposed to simply hearing the words or seeing the hashtag) in the Winter of 2014. Through that experience I had learned a few details, like the fact that BLM started in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death as opposed to Mike Brown’s death as is popular understanding. The movement is founded on the principles of Non-Violence consistent with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And there is a deep commitment to interrupt our nations attempt to continue on with business as usual in order to draw attention to what many see as a systematic targeting of Black lives in our criminal justice system, as well as other areas of our society. Still, I have a lot to learn.

My desire to understand has kept me reading, listening, watching, and trying to resist the knee-jerk reaction to defend my ego as I am faced with the reality of my own complicity in what Black Lives Matter exposes to us as a nation.

I want to share two podcasts that I found incredibly helpful along my journey to understand Black Lives Matter. I encourage you to listen to both, regardless of your feelings toward Black Lives Matter. I once heard someone say that his goal with his friend with whom he disagreed was to “achieve disagreement”. When it comes to Black Lives Matter, let us work toward achieving disagreement rather than basing our back and forth attacks on misinformation and popular rhetoric. These two women, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, along with Alicia Garza worked together to found Black Lives Matter. These podcasts offer us the opportunity to hear more about their heart, inspiration, and what lies at the core of this movement they birthed.

  1. Krista Tippett’s Interview with Black Lives Matter Co-Founder, Patrisse Cullors.

  2. Rob Bell’s Interview with Black Lives Matter Co-Founder, Opal Tometi.
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