• Luindeni Baker

Black Lives Matter Is Not a Symbol of Hate

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

The First Amendment of The United States Constitution grants its citizens the right to peaceful protest. So, why is it okay for the police to teargas peaceful protesters? Why was it okay for President Trump to send federal agents to Portland, Oregon to arrest protesters with no explanation? Why do protesters have to be fearful when they are simply trying to advocate for something that they believe in?


Why is our government getting away with these unlawful acts against the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters, and why is President Trump taking action in a way he never did against the people who protested COVID-19 restrictions? Why does Trump believe that the stay at home order, which “violated civil rights,” poses a larger threat to the nation than the deaths of unarmed black people?


President Donald Trump has publicly spoken out against the Black Lives Matter movement. He called New York City’s decision to paint “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue a “symbol of hate.” This is just one of the many examples in which the president has failed to think before he spoke, simply acted out to ignorance, or did not consider that we need to make a change to stop the race related deaths of black people in our country.


He continued to say that the city should have given any money that they put towards the statement on Fifth Avenue to “our great police who fight crime,” even though New York City already gave their police department a budget of $5.61b for the year.


In what world is the term “Black Lives Matter'' a negative statement? Why does President Trump view it as hateful? We said Black Lives Matter. We did not say “only Black Lives Matter.” All lives cannot matter until black lives do. By saying that the mural on Fifth Avenue is a symbol of hate, Trump is saying that he disagrees with the statement and that he does not think black lives are worth protecting equally.


While the mural has only been on display for a couple of weeks, multiple people have tried to deface it. Every time an incident has occurred thus far, supporters have gathered to fix the mural and paint over any spiteful vandalism. We will not let those who do not support the movement silence us.


When Trump hosted a rally for his re-election in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20, Black Lives Matter protesters chanted around the entrance of the facility. When the event began, Trump said that the protesters were “very bad people” and described them as thugs, despite the fact that they were being peaceful. The fact of the matter is that Trump is addressing Black Lives Matter in a way that he thinks will appeal to his supporters. He is playing race identity politics, hoping that it will animate the white base to vote for him in the upcoming election.


I do not think that the Black Lives Matter movement should be as political as it is. Human rights should never be political. We cannot tolerate negative views on this topic. When the topic surrounds something that a person cannot change about themselves — like their race, gender, or sexuality — then their rights should be guaranteed. However, Trump obviously does not see it that way.


In Washington D.C., people were peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd when the police began to fire teargas and set off flash bangs to move the crowd for Trump's photo-op. The protesters were peaceful, meaning that the violence presented by the police was a violation of their right to protest.


In Portland, Oregon, the President sent federal agents to “control the protests.” These police forces were unjustly arresting protesters and using excessive force against them. When will our own government, the government that was built by people who were tired of not having their voices heard, stop trying to silence us?


Maybe when Trump is voted out, but who knows.