#BlackLivesMatter was founded as a response to the dehumanization of black people after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murder in 2013, but both the use of the hashtag on social media and the influence of the broader Black Lives Matter movement climbed exponentially in 2014 after the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York City.
As the issue of police brutality gained national attention, #BlackLivesMatter became a rallying cry across the United States and all over the world against systematic racism that overwhelmingly affects the Black community. It has since established itself as a worldwide movement, particularly after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A video of Mr. Floyd repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe,” was widely shared on social media that sparked one of the country’s largest social movements in history.
The movement has achieved what very few have. It has set in motion a period of significant—potentially consequential—social and political change. Today, we at US² want to bring attention to the need for accountability when racial discrimination happens in our communities. Take the first step toward being accountable by signing our pledge. Be mindful of discrimination, microaggressions, and stereotypes. Commit to addressing injustice as you witness it happening. You have a story and you deserve to be heard. Do not be silent. Do not be silenced. Use your breath to speak for those who cannot breathe.
As we spend today, the National Day of Accountability, to commemorate the nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds George Floyd was deprived of oxygen and the lives lost to state-sanctioned violence, participate in proactively rallying for social justice by signing the declaration here: National Day of Accountability Declaration.