#BlackLivesMatter 9th anniversary, this day in history
By: Calum Tuttle
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Wednesday marks the ninth anniversary of the hashtag Black Lives Matter.
Organized by three Black women—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, #BlackLivesMatter was first seen nine years ago following the acquittal of a Florida man in the death of Trayvon Martin, a Black 17 year old who was fatally shot while walking home in 2012.
Neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman was the one who pulled the trigger, according to police reports provided by The New York Times.
However, Zimmerman was found not guilty on July 13, 2013, which sparked an outcry from thousands who protested in the city streets across America.
Although the movement was created as a direct response to the acquittal of Martin’s murderer, BLM redirected their mission to help suppress white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities, according to their website.
BLM continued to grow momentum in 2014 following the shooting deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
In 2016, BLM supporters in Memphis marched across the city and onto the I-40 bridge to protest following the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The I-40 bridge accross the Mississippi River was shut down for hours.
The movement has been internationally recognized in Canada and Europe. In 2016, Black Lives Matter protesters against racism in the UK led a national shutdown, which closed roads in multiple cities to raise awareness.
Since 2013, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has been used millions of times in support of the movement. The hashtag had been used roughly 47.8 million times on Twitter as of 2022, Pew Research reported.