Black Lives Matter Just Entered Its Next Phase – The Atlantic

Since the height of the protests in June, theres been an absence of a meaningful nationwide embrace of police reforms. That month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order calling for the creation of a national database on police use of force, yet the measure fails to address broader issues related to policing. And while the aftermath of the Jacob Blake shooting by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, may provide renewed pressure on state legislators to act, theres no denying that the largest social movement of the 21st century has to enter a new chapter.

To that end, at Friday nights convention, the Movement for Black Lives presented a robust 2020 platform, connecting the dots among issues of policing, reproductive justice, housing, climate change, immigration, and disabled and trans rights. In addition to outlining demands to end the war on Black people, the platform urges the passage of the Breathe Act, federal legislation that would ensure the closure of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities, defund police departments, and reestablish social programs for the formerly incarcerated. The platform also calls for land reparations for Indigenous communities and Black farmers, electoral justice via the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and the advocacy and protection of trans people. The convention was an energetic capstone to a summer of victories both significant and modest.

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Still, direct action is never the primary component of a movements longevity; it is only a piece that works in concert with a multitude of efforts. Movements frequently face setbacks and fierce resistance, and some even wait decades to capture the national imagination. When the cameras turn off, when theres not as much attention to the issues in mass media or social media, we think that the movement activity has somehow ended, Allen Kwabena Frimpong, a co-founder of the AdAstra Collective, an organization that supports and studies social movements, said in a recent interview. But it hasnt. Its that what is required of us has shifted ... in this phase of the cycle. Its a time to build strategy.

When Black Lives Matter protests first captured the nations attention and spread across American cities in the late summer of 2014, three high-profile police killings of Black people had occurred: John Crawford III in Ohio, Eric Garner in New York, and Michael Brown in Missouri. It was 18-year-old Browns shooting death by an officer in Ferguson that marked a tipping point in the movement: The nation saw several weeks of uprisings and sustained protests demanding policing reform and accountability. That energy was sustained in Chicago, New York, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Oakland, St. Louis, and others until 2016.

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Black Lives Matter Just Entered Its Next Phase - The Atlantic

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