One senses that black people are having a moment. Around the world, the wretched of the earth are saying “Look, a Black Life” — does it matter? does anybody care? A Negro, death, young and old, but especially the young, the trans, the LGBTQ, women, children, the incarcerated, the communities more vulnerable to environmental racism, to the proliferation of guns and drugs, to for-profit institutionalized white supremacy. Yes, out of relative obscurity at any moment in time movements spring and for their time accomplish goals, or not, that contribution in net positive or negative ways to the struggle of oppressed people. We are living in a time where a movement is in the making from the might river of the black freedom struggle.
Many date the current movement moment from the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of his murderer, George Zimmerman. I think we should look a few years before to the Jena 6 case. In the aftermath of Katrina, the young, digital generation began formulating a capacity to flash respond to critical instances injustice. That internetworked capacity tweeted out in a massive way the call for a Jena 6 National Walk-Out Day on 10/1/2007.
The execution of Troy Davis in Georgia on September 21, 2011, was another day when the emergence of a movement was evident. Twitter recorded 7671 tweets per second in the moments before word of Davis’s execution, making his death the second most active Twitter event in 2011. Rallies were held all over the country protesting his being put to death. “I am Troy Davis” was the battle cry.
So it was on the shoulders of these various campaigns that the killing of Trayvon Benjamin Martin on February 26, 2012, sparked a massive response. The network began to look at ways to organize a campaign that would demand justice for 17-year-old African American youth. As case after case of homicide of young New Afrikans at the hands of white police as well as armed white civilians the movement for black lives has formally organized itself with its own agenda, principles of unity, campaigns, and rules of engagement.