BLM Marks 10th Anniversary With Renewed Push To Defund Police, Reinvest In Black Communities

The acquittal of the man who fatally shot Trayvon Martin launched the social justice movement.

The Black Lives Matter movement, which emerged from the trauma of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the fatal shooting of unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin, marked its 10th anniversary Thursday (July 13) with calls to action, including a renewed push to defund the police and reinvest in Black communities.

BLM’s Week of Action started Monday (July 10) with the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLM GNF) releasing a digital ad campaign called Defund the Police.

“Defund the Police Week is about centering true justice, joy, and humanity over criminalization, and to affirmatively promote the Community Safety Legislative and Appropriations Agenda, a joint project of more than 50 civil rights, public health, racial justice, housing, violence prevention, economic justice, and allied organizations nationwide,” a statement reads.

“BLM GNF will use the week to challenge the current crime and public safety narrative and push Congress and local elected officials to support critical legislation.”

BLM GNF declared July 13th Black Lives Matter Day and encouraged supporters to lobby local and national elected officials to introduce a draft proclamation to officially recognize the day.

The movement marks its first decade of existence three years after the Black community was shocked by the 2020 in-custody police murder of George Floyd. A now-infamous video showed white former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the Black man’s neck while handcuffed on the ground. A jury convicted Chauvin in 2021 on all counts of murder and manslaughter.

At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority turned the clock back on affirmative action in college admissions in a landmark ruling in June that could block diversity efforts in other areas.

“What this movement moment means is that we have to absolutely redouble our efforts and redouble our commitment to making Black lives matter,” a director of BLM Grassroots Inc. Melina Abdullah told the Associated Press. “Ten years in, we’re getting a glimpse at what would happen if there were no Black Lives Matter. We’re not just going to fight when it’s popular, but we’re going to fight because we need to fight.”

The 10th anniversary celebrations will include the "#BLMTurns10 People’s Justice Festival'' in Los Angeles on Saturday (July 15) at Leimert Park, the AP reports. Organizers invited Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and Dr. Cornel West, who is running a third-party campaign for U.S. president, to speak at the festival.

On Feb. 26, 2012, Martin, 17, was walking back to his father’s home in Sanford, Fla., from a nearby convenience store carrying Skittles and a soft drink. Zimmermann, a self-appointed neighborhood watchman, observed the teen, who was wearing a hoodie, and called the police because he thought, without reason, that Martin looked suspicious.

George Zimmerman Acquittal 10 Years Later: 5 Things That Have Happened Since Then

The 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman, then 28, that the cops were on their way and to stop following Martin. But he ignored the dispatcher’s directions, getting out of his car and confronting the unarmed teen. At some point, a physical altercation happened between the two and Zimmerman fatally shot Martin, claiming self-defense.

The story remained obscure until Kevin Cunningham, then a 31-year-old Howard Law School graduate, saw it on a listserv. He launched an online petition to get justice for Trayvon and news of his death spread from there.

Black activists began agitating for justice after the police delayed arresting Zimmerman. Their concerns came to fruition when a nearly all white jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter – igniting outrage and nationwide protests that gave birth to BLM.

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