By Marley Meltzer
New York City, New York
On January 29, the Black Lives Matter movement was nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. Peter Eide, a Socialist Left member of the Storting, Norway’s Parliament, credited the movement for its global impact in pushing for racial equality and promoting the importance of racial awareness. After the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery in 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement’s efforts were significantly escalated with frequent protests, charitable donations and public acknowledgement from famous figures.
Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 by three self-proclaimed “radical” Black organizers, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi. The movement was motivated by the killing of Trayvon Martin that took place just seventeen months prior along with police brutality and racially charged violence against Black people overall. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter (#BLM) was rampant on social media networks and the movement soon impacted popular culture and politics. Several Black Lives Matter chapters were formed across the United States in addition to many volunteer organizations and politicians fervently supporting the movement.
However, the Black Lives Matter movement has been heavily criticized by public figures and large groups of Americans, differing significantly by racial demographics. For example, the phrases “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” were created as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, in reference to the lives of all people and to the lives of the police, respectively. Both of those phrases have received criticism from the Black Lives Matter movement for dismissing the instances of police brutality and racial prejudice faced by Black individuals. Controversy surrounds the Black Lives Matter movement, most often by right-wing groups, as it is scorned for the violence taking place at some protests and for instances of political bias.
In Eide’s nomination papers, he mentioned how the movement had encouraged other nations to tackle racism within their societies. “I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality. Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice,” Eide said. “Awarding the Peace Prize to Black Lives Matter, as the global strongest force against racial injustice, will send a powerful message that peace is founded on equality, solidarity, and human rights, and that all countries must respect those basic principles.”
Patrice Cullos said Black Lives Matter has grown “more energized” after its recent nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize: “We are honored the movement is being recognized, and are more energized than ever to continue to fight for Black lives.”