Not everyone is here for the Black Lives Matter movement.
On July 6th, a petition was created on the White House website, comparing the movement to a terrorist group, similar to ISIS. Labeling the petition, We The People, Y.S., the creator, was able to gather the signature of over 100,000 people around the world, who agreed with her take on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Y.S. and her team started the petition by defining terrorism as “the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims.” They linked the definition to the way Black Lives Matter activists handled police brutality, following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Freddie Gray in Baltimore, their behavior at Bernie Sanders’ political rallies, and all over North America as a whole.
“Terrorism is defined as ‘the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims,'” said the petition. “This definition is the same definition used to declare ISIS and other groups, as terrorist organizations. Black Lives Matter has earned this title due to its actions in Ferguson, Baltimore, and even at a Bernie Sanders rally, as well as all over the United States and Canada.”
“We The People” were hoping to justify the actions of Black Lives Matter advocates by placing them in the same category as terrorist groups, but President Obama served one up on them, stating the community’s movement being rooted in hopes of social equality, building trust, and justice are not of equal stance to terrorist organizations.
POTUS understands the protestors’ concerns about the movement, but he’s informing them to look at the bigger picture and to put themselves in each others’ shoes. Situations of injustice are occurring around the world and the movement is set to put these issues on the forefront in hopes of peace and equality, not to say that one race is better than the next or to come after other ethnic groups.
Part of Obama’s response to the previous killings of black men and police officers in America was also used within the White House’s statement:
I know that there are some who have criticized even the phrase ‘black lives matter,’ as if the notion is, is that other lives don’t matter. And so you get ‘all lives matter’ or ‘blue lives matter.’ I understand the point they’re trying to make. I think it’s important for us to also understand that the phrase ‘black lives matter’ simply refers to the notion that there’s a specific vulnerability for African Americans that needs to be addressed. It’s not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter. It’s to suggest that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability. And so we shouldn’t get too caught up in this notion that somehow people who are asking for fair treatment are somehow, automatically, anti-police, are trying to only look out for black lives as opposed to others. I think we have to be careful about playing that game, just because that’s not obviously what is intended. With an open heart, those protesting for change will guard against reckless language going forward, look at the model set by the five officers we mourn today, acknowledge the progress brought about by the sincere efforts of police departments like this one in Dallas, and embark on the hard but necessary work of negotiation, the pursuit of reconciliation.