The protests this summer were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man who lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While arresting him, police forced Floyd to the ground. One policeman then knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes—despite Floyd’s pleas for the officer to show mercy. “I can’t breathe,” Floyd said again and again before he died.
A witness in the crowd captured the scene on a cell phone camera. The video was viewed by millions of people, and they were outraged at the death of yet another unarmed Black person at the hands of the police. Protesters quickly took to the streets to express their anger over the long history of racism in America.
Protests were soon taking place in 140 cities. At the heart of these events is Black Lives Matter (BLM). It’s a movement that started seven years ago, after the killing of an unarmed Black teenager named Trayvon Martin. One of its goals is to change how police interact with Black Americans.
In many Black communities, police are seen as a threat rather than protection. Often, Black people are treated differently than white people who commit similar crimes.
Police are more likely to use force on Black people than white people. And Black people are nearly six times more likely to go to jail than white people.