How did America become so worried about race again?

Kaitlin Yu, Co-editor in chief

A little more than four years ago, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. A little more than four years ago, an activist group was birthed from perceived racial injustices — Black Lives Matter (BLM).

That case was the kindling for racial tension across the United States. BLM was the spark that started the flames, and that fire has now developed into a wildfire of race-related discussions and protests.


FEB 26, 2012: Justice for Trayvon

Florida resident George Zimmerman shoots Trayvon Martin after Martin had purchased Skittles and tea from a convenience store. Zimmerman said he shot the teenager in self-defense after an altercation between the two.


JULY 13, 2012: Zimmerman Trial

Zimmerman was found not guilty on all charges. BLM co-founder Alicia Garza was following the trial. When she found out the verdict, she reported being terrified for her younger brother’s life and thought, “That could have been my family.”


JULY 14, 2012: #BlackLivesMatter

Garza woke up the day after Zimmerman’s trial and posted on Facebook “a love letter to black people.” The hashtag was used for the first time ever. She wrote, “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter. #blacklivesmatter.”

“BLM is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” — Blacklivesmatter.com herstory

Kaitlin Yu

JULY 14, 2013: I Can’t Breathe

Eric Garner was selling untaxed cigarettes when New York police officers attempted to arrest him. Using an illegal chokehold, the officers pinned down Garner. Garner gasped, “I can’t breathe,” 11 times.

I support BLM because it’s a group that wants to make all lives equal. BLM is getting black people in the media more than ever before, and I support [that]. Some approaches that BLM has done I don’t approve of, like the violence [at some protests.] — Alex Smith, 12

AUG 9, 2014: Hands Up, Don’t Shoot

Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. The grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice determined that Wilson was fearful of his life and justified Wilson’s actions. The shooting immediately triggered protests, which escalated quickly when Ferguson police began using military-grade equipment against protesters.


NOV 23, 2014: Only 12 Years Old

Cleveland officer Timothy Loehmann and his partner were responding to a 911 call, and within two seconds of pulling up to 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was carrying an unmarked BB gun, Loehmann shot twice at Rice. He died the next day.



JULY 13, 2015: What happened to Sandra Bland?

Civil rights advocate Sandra Bland and the officer who pulled her over for failure to signal a lane change scuffled until she was arrested. Three days later, her body was found hanging in her jail cell. Authorities called it a suicide, but her family claims she would never commit suicide.


NOV 23, 2015: Rise of white supremacy

Alleged white supremacists shot at the BLM encampment protesting Minneapolis resident Jamar Clark‘s death and injured five. Four white men were arrested.


JULY 7, 2016: Dallas shootings

What started out as a peaceful BLM protest turned violent when a sniper who wanted revenge on officers began shooting. Five Dallas officers were killed in the incident.

When we see what BLM stands for, we get all supportive because what they stand for is a good thing. Equality. [However,] how they are doing it is the worst way possible. Martin Luther King Jr. was so successful because he never harmed a soul. [However], BLM looks to hurt everyone in their path. If they wanted to be more effective, they would start showing a message of love. This goes all around, though; there is far too much hate from both sides of the spectrum. — Carson Foley, 11

JUNE 16, 2017: Facebook Live

Minnesota officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted on all charges concerning the shooting of Philando Castile. Yanez claims he was fearful for his life, believing Castile was reaching for a gun. The aftermath of the 2016 shooting was streamed live on Facebook.

I think white nationalism and the alt-right are some of the worst movements occurring in our nation. Racism is always wrong and can never be justified. The fact that our president compared the two movements — counter protesters and white nationalism — shows how our country is moving backward. — Kaitlyn Dehais, 11

AUG 12, 2017: “Not here, not in my town.” — BLM member Lisa Woolfork, in an interview with Inthesetimes.com

White supremacists protesting the removal of a Charlottesville Confederate statue clashed with counter protesters, many of whom were BLM members. Counter protester Heather Heyer was killed when Nazi-sympathizer James Alex Fields drove his car into the crowd.


SEP 15, 2017: “I’m going to kill this mother*******…”

St. Louis officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of murder charges for the 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith. Prosecutors allege that he said, “I’m going to kill this mother*******,” and planted a gun. Peaceful and violent protests have since erupted in St. Louis. St. Louis police have been recorded allegedly chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” which was what BLM protestors said during Ferguson protests. After three days of protests, more than 100 people have been arrested, and protestors have staged a die-in in front of the police station.


Info collected from Vox, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, and more.