Jenna Wortham in The New York Times:
In the wake of a perverse constellation of deaths of black Americans at the hands of the police and vigilantes, America’s current incarnation of a civil rights movement — organized under the rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter” — is more powerful than ever. “Seven years ago, we were treated like we were too radical, too out of the bounds of what is possible,” said Alicia Garza, the civil rights organizer based in Oakland, Calif., who coined the phrase in a 2013 Facebook post after George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. “And now, countless lives later, it’s finally seen as relevant.”
The urgency and validity of the movement have finally been recognized, she told me, as the country has reached “its boiling point.”
For nearly 10 days straight, Americans have been gathering and marching to protest unchecked state violence against black people. Protests have erupted in virtually every American state, in small towns and major cities alike, and in Europe and New Zealand. Dozens of brands published social media posts vocalizing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement or against racism. Some, including those from Ben & Jerry’s, “Sesame Street” and Nickelodeon, felt more explicit and powerful than others. Taylor Swift responded to President Trump’s “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” tweet by accusing him of threatening violence after years of “stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism.” The “Star Wars” actor John Boyega gave an emotional speech at a protest in London.
This is the biggest collective demonstration of civil unrest around state violence in our generation’s memory. The unifying theme, for the first time in America’s history, is at last: Black Lives Matter.
Rashad Robinson, the president of the civil rights organization Color of Change, speculated that it was the stark cruelty of the video of George Floyd’s death that captivated the country. The pain was palpable, the nonchalance in Derek Chauvin’s face, chilling. “The police officer is looking into the camera as he’s pushing the life out of him,” Mr. Robinson said.