Recap of Black Lives Matter Protests

ShaKira Karnick-Shivers, Staff Writer

Black Lives Matter Protests

On May 27, only a day after George Floyd’s death, the world erupted in protests, from peaceful demonstrations to rioting and looting. Many around the world spread word of the Black Lives Matter movement; some counter protestors spoke up that Blue Lives Matter (the police) and All Lives Matter. Throughout May and June, both sides worked to spread their beliefs and fought for them.

Across the United States, there have been more than 4,700 demonstrations, or an average of 140 per day, since the first protests began in Minneapolis on May 26, according to a Times analysis. There have been more than 14,000+ arrested since the protests have started.

For many at Doherty, this hits close to home. “Black Lives Matter isn’t “racist,” it’s a social movement [against] police brutality and racially motivated violence against black people. [It does not mean only black lives matter, but instead] all lives cannot matter until Black Lives Matter,” said Doherty student Shayla Valdez.

The Black Lives Matter Organization made their goal throughout the months to “defund the police and change their practices,” along with shedding light on victims during this year. One that touched Colorado hearts the most was Elijah McClain. He was a 23-year-old black man who died in Aurora, Colorado on August 24, 2019 due to complications while being hospitalized after an officer got a report about a “sketchy male” and put McClain in a carotid hold for resisting arrest.

When asked why they went to the protests, Doherty alum Jason Meta said, “The protests were generally peaceful other than the nighttime ones.”

A Doherty staff member Kawika Kalawe also went to a protest. “I went with Coach Brown. It was like the first week of June, and we went and saw bunch of people outside City Hall, and it was cool. There was this group of white people [and] black people praying together, there were people holding signs that said stuff like ‘BLM’, ‘equality’ and things like that. Nothing was crazy, there were no riots, there was nobody being violent in any way and we were just outside of City Hall on the corner facing the street holding our signs.”

Although there may be some protests that are peaceful, some altercations occurred during the protests. One Doherty student commented off the record: “We were there for two hours and within the two hours we had 12 people flip us off and say FU at us and one person said, “only white lives matter.”

Doherty alum Jason Meta describes another incident, “BLM groups would walk by restaurants and disrupt people and might even smash plates and stuff just because they didn’t raise their fists. When I walked past one before the police showed up, they were beating up someone because they said, “ALL LIVES MATTER.” They also set something on fire. Then when the police came around, they started throwing stuff at them and of course the police started shooting nine lethal back at the crowed. I left before I got hit by either side.” Despite these altercations, the general perspective of the protests have been positive and supportive.

“I support BLM because I do believe there is a problem in our society that causes unfair challenges to people of color,” said art teacher Kevin Comiskey.

“I absolutely support the peaceful protest for any cause, including Black Lives Matter. The continued frequency of violent and fatal interactions between law enforcement and community members shows a clear and urgent need for change,” science teacher Jeremy Cipiti said.

“I do support Black Lives Matter. I think it is a very important and necessary movement, especially right now. Of course, I believe all lives matter, but Black Lives matter focuses more on what is happening and [what] needs to change right now,” said English teacher Deborah Kirkpatrick.

On the other hand, many believe the messages of the All Lives and Blue Lives Matter crowds. A Doherty student (who wish to remain anonymous due to backlash), stated their thoughts on the thought of just Black Lives Matter, “I believe all lives matter because Hispanics get treated that way and so do some white people too.”  Many who have said the same, said they were “treated differently and disrespected” when they said all lives matter.

Others quickly found out that they might have to be quiet about their views because, “As I found out some people will yell, kick, and scream if you say anything against their views. It is not fun when those times come.” However, Blue Lives Matter can be supported with Black Lives Matter, “I do believe that Blue lives matter, as well [as Black Lives Matter] and the ridicule/violence that police face because of the actions of some others in their profession is unfair. Being a police officer is a very challenging, underpaid, and dangerous job that people should be thankful is provided to the public,” said art teacher Kevin Comiskey. All in all, the protests have been a mixture of these beliefs.

During May through July, protests were the focus over the months and although there are few demonstrations occurring as of recently, Colorado continues to be active in protests whether large or small today. The most recent have been Kenosha for Jacob Blake, a man who was shot seven times by the police and was paralyzed from the waist down. The other is the relapse for Breonna Taylor since the officers that shot her were not charged for her death as of recently. Many around the world continue to fight for their beliefs, whether that is Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and All lives Matter.