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Journalism Project #3: Blacks Lives Matter Movement

Patrisse Cullors, in USA Today, wrote a story about Eric Garner in July 2019 on how the justice system failed him, and the need to create an environment whereby fellow Blacks will get the much-needed justice. Reading about Eric Garner’ story and the manner in which he pleaded with Dan Pantaleo, New York Police Department’s officer, to stop choking him (Cullors par. 2), I kept reflecting on the progress of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and whether the movement has had any impact since its inception, a few years back. I think the movement, although inconspicuous, has had an impact on raising issues affecting the black community in America, especially on the rise of cases involving the police, as was the case with Eric Garner (Cullors par. 1). The movement, albeit such cases as Eric Garner’s soiling it, continues to raise awareness of the need to fix the justice system, especially how white police officers violate the constitutional rights of Blacks.

            Accordingly, Eric Garner’s story is a reflection of the reluctance of the justice system to make amends concerning how Americans should be handled as far as the constitutional rights of individuals are concerned. Looking back, the Black Lives Matter Movement was merely a trending hashtag on social media with no probable or visible cause, but simply an outcry of anyone on social media who showed concern (Cullors par. 5). The movement also draws from The New Jim Crow, a book by Michelle Alexander that explores the major issue of mass incarceration. Mass incarceration, for instance, means the legal process is not followed, and that the rights of individuals, especially blacks, to legal trial is intentionally violated. Therefore, as I examine the issue of mass incarceration, it is inevitable to connect the dots that Eric Garner would have fell victim to mass incarceration was it not for the unfortunate scenario that he succumbed to choking by the police officer.

            It is also disturbing that Pantaleo, who choked Eric Garner to death, was not charged, which also explains a lot about the broken justice system (Cullors par. 4). At the same time, the justice system has contributed to the problem of mass incarceration, as explored by Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow. It is also worrying that the issue of mass incarceration involves blacks as the majority victims, which brings to fore the relevance and impact of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Additionally, the movement, from my perspective, should channel its efforts to the justice system, while emphasizing on the need for a fair hearing and legal follow-up on violations, if any, especially from the blacks.

            In conclusion, the Black Lives Matter Movement is a noble cause, especially when issues of illegal detention, legal violations, violation of individual constitutional rights, and mass incarceration are rampant. The movement should also focus on finding solutions to what Michelle Alexander termed as the “emboldened white supremacy,” as well as issues on drug use and trafficking. Lastly, while advocating for the strengthening of the movement, it is also important to also include the need to push for a voice among the blacks, especially on matters of leadership and governance (Cullors par. 6). Again, I think emphasizing the Black Lives Matter Movement is a critical component of having a just nation where the rights of everybody are respected, and the justice system is impartial.

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