A New Approach to Black Lives Matter

By Sebastian Godinez

My editorials so far have been about having respect for what “freedom of speech” means and what it stands for. And right now I’m going to test yours.

Black Lives Matter is a sociopolitical movement that took off after the 2013 killing of unarmed black teen Ferguson by a White police officer. Since then, the movement has been more active than ever, especially this past summer into the fall. And they have legitimate concerns. There is a history and evidence of racism in our criminal justice system, cops included. Of course, I recognize that the movement cannot be summarized in such a few words, but that has been their main focus so far.

I have a problem with Black Lives Matter. Their main mode of spreading their cause is via protests and marches and in some cases rioting (there’s irrefutable video evidence of riots). Protesting is fine and all, but it really doesn’t get much done. Most people here at Drew, I trust, don’t read or follow conservative media. But I was recently taken aback by a comment by a conservative commentator. She said, “Black Lives Matter isn’t running for Congress.” I think it’s a pretty powerful counterpoint. For that matter, they aren’t running for governor, mayor, town council or school board in large numbers either. As I said above, Black Lives Matter has a legitimate concern and they raise really valid and important issues to the public at large.

If Black Lives Matter wanted to make more of a difference, they would run for office in any capacity. If they win, they can really start to put forth an agenda that might one day come reality. They could, for instance, introduce (and perhaps pass) legislation that would reform police behavior in their towns and perhaps lead to a legal movement confronting police and racism. Another instance, largely absent from Black Lives Matter’s main focus or public face, is education. We recognize that housing segregation on a de facto basis is on the rise. This had led to, unfortunately, a lack of resources in heavily minority school districts, and hard data from publications like the New York Times proves that this impacts grades. If Black Lives Matter ran for public office, this is a crucial area where they could make a huge difference. (A side note here is that this might really help to bring in some of the people who view Black Lives Matter with a skeptical view and are on the fence about the movement.)

I’m writing this editorial, to give you some context, in light of the events that occurred in Tulsa, Okla. and Charlotte, N.C. Black Lives Matter is now back in the headlines. Perhaps someone might reach out to them and say, “Hey, why not run for public office and make the point that Black Lives Matter even more powerful?”

Sebastian is a junior Political Science Major

[Graphic by Joseph Gotto/Graphics Editor]

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