Based on the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s 6 Principles of the Beloved Community
There is a sort of secondary civil rights movement occurring here, now, in 2018 America. While the first one was centered around the aggressive and obvious oppression of the people of colour in the United States, this one is focussed on the underlying systemic racism. We can see that the number of people of colour who are jailed for minor offenses or unnecessarily shot in encounters with the police is vastly disproportionate compared with the numbers for white people. The people have recognised this privilege gap once again. And, many of the principles first instilled during the nonviolent protests led by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King have returned with this second wave.
The Black Lives Matter movement is relatively new, formed as a response to the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin by an armed police officer in 2012, and to the fact that said officer was found not guilty of murder during trial. BLM was created by three women, as an organisation effort to promote the internal power of Black people for a more equitable world through demonstrations and raising of awareness of the subtle and obvious racism in our country. The movement consciously makes space for women and queer or trans people as an effort to eliminate the exclusion experienced within other political movements worldwide. This is just one example in line with the values of Dr. King’s Beloved Community, and it highlights the differences between more inclusive organisations such as the NAACP versus Black power movements such as the Black Panthers, a more violent and male centric group fighting for the same issue.
Healing or restorative justice is held in high regard within the BLM movement. Healing circles are offered for people of colour as a place to reflect on and share experiences of the deep trauma that the POC community has been facing for hundreds of years here in America, stating, ‘we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting”. This directly corresponds to King’s Principles Two and Four which state that “nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding” and “nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.” Rather than fighting against people, the mission is to accept and celebrate differences and work to integrate them into the community.
BLM celebrates its cause and recognises the dedication that goes into fighting the fight as beneficial for all its members. Nowhere on the website does it mention anything about defeating individuals. They maintain that the need for Black freedom and justice extends to equity for all people. This leads into Principle Three: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people. Raising an oppressed people to meet the privilege of other non-minority groups cannot be accomplished simply by cutting down members of the reigning majority whether that be white people, cisgender individuals, heterosexuals, or all three. Therefore, BLM works to raise all people up, that Black people and other minorities may be celebrated as thoroughly for their accomplishments and contributions to society as everyone else.
Black Lives Matter, though of a different generation than the historical civil rights movement, clearly takes many of its critical viewpoints and values from those of the mother revolution. In order to harness the true power of the people, each person must feel vital and whole. Nonviolence incorporates this value and more, especially within the new female led movement. The Beloved Community exists within this movement through conscious choice, perhaps on a larger scale than anywhere else in the world at this moment. What a powerful thing, for such a large collection of humans to be working so diligently and knowledgeably towards the same goal.