The Black Lives Matter movement has quickly become one of the most divisive topics in recent years.
It is inevitable when the movement is mentioned in casual conversation for some to state that Black Lives Matter is a hate group, terrorist group or exclusionary by nature.
However, according to a panel of speakers from Purdue University who spoke at the Monticello-Union Township Public Library Wednesday, the movement was created to be inclusionary and to attack civil rights violations not simply among the black community, but also in other communities that are being oppressed or treated unfairly.
Purdue University Black Cultural Center Program Advisor Juanita Crider began the presentation, “The Emergence of #BlackLivesMatter: A Movement, Not A Moment”, by explaining the history of the movement to a crowd that gathered in the library’s program room.
“Black Lives Matter started out with three women, Alicia Garza, Opal Temeti and Patrisse Cullors, who were very concerned about what they envisioned as black lives being treated unfairly in their contacts with the criminal justice system. And they just started a hashtag on Twitter,” Crider said. “They did not expect the hashtag to take off like it did.”
The movement, unlike the NAACP, does not have national offices that abide by by-laws, and was strictly formed to be a grassroots effort. This means that chapters throughout the movement are different than one another.
“They organized it that way, because they wanted the people in the community to decide what issues they wanted to work on,” Crider said, adding that some call for an increase to minimum wage, inequality in the social justice system and getting people to organize and run for office.
Though the movement has no national president or base, Crider said, it is influenced by six initiatives: ending the war on black people, reparations, divestment, economic justice, community control and political power.
“Community control, they want to be able to control the local budgets, be able to have people serve on the school boards, things of that nature. Economic justice, the fight for improvement of minimum wage is an example of economic justice,” she said. “Divestment, they want to make sure our communities are healthy and they want the institutions and businesses to take their money out of what they feel may be businesses or companies that are doing harm maybe in their involvement in these particular communities.”
For the complete story, read Friday's Herald Journal.