The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has gained momentum this year, with the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by Minneapolis and Louisville police serving as major catalysts. The New York Times cites BLM as the largest movement in US history with an average of 140 demonstrations each day and crowds exceeding 20,000 people. The largest protest in Bloomington, co-organized by Hamilton Lugar student Salina Tesfagiorgis, attracted 7,000.
People are gathering in solidarity beyond the US as well, demanding justice for Black Americans who suffer at the hands of police brutality and holding their own policing systems accountable.
In early June, a Paris crowd of 20,000 rallied around the name of Adama Traoré, a Malian-French man who died in police custody in 2016 after being pinned to the ground. His sister Assa Traoré organized recent protests, drawing similarities between his death and Floyd’s. According to The World, renewed pressure led President Emmanuel Macron to request an acceleration on improvements to the policing code of ethics. The investigation into Traoré’s death is ongoing.
Protests in Kenya aren’t as large—likely for fear of police retaliation. Since the setting of coronavirus restrictions in March, several people have been injured by violent enforcement with at least 22 people killed. Among them was thirteen-year-old Yassin Moyo, struck by a bullet while watching police patrol streets from his balcony, and a tradesman accused of selling fake hand sanitizer. Still, hundreds of people have gathered in cities across the nation demanding justice both for their countrymen and in solidarity with BLM protests around the world.
Some 100 South Koreans marched a week after Floyd’s death, calling attention to the xenophobia often faced by foreigners of any race or ethnicity. Protests also surfaced in creative ways online. When anti-Black Lives Matter hashtags trended on Twitter, K-Pop fans used them to share videos of their favorite stars, drowning out racist messaging. Hamilton Lugar professor CedarBough Saeji gives context for this in “The K-pop revolution and what it means for American politics,” which ran in The Washington Post in late June.
Protests and other forms of solidarity with Black Lives Matter emerged on and offline from several other countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, the UK, and South Africa.
Interested in learning more? Enroll in Hamid Ekbia’s course Black Lives Matter as a Global Movement (INTL-I 212) during the Fall Small Session (November 30–December 14). Students will gain an understanding of BLM’s American roots and its trajectory, while exploring how countries around the world are viewing and joining this movement. The course will also touch on immigrant, refugee, and revolutionary perspectives with a number of guest lecturers from Indiana University and of national renown. This and other small session courses are free with fall tuition. For details, visit the HLS Course Spotlight page.