Country Sees Resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement


Since the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police on May 25th, the country has seen a revival in the Black Lives Matter movement.

The incident involved four police officers, who arrested Floyd, a Black 46-year-old, for the use of a counterfeit $20 bill. Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds despite Floyd’s repeated insistences that “[he] can’t breathe.” The entire encounter, including the initial struggle and Floyd’s eventual death, was captured on camera. The three other Minneapolis police officers watched as Chauvin continued to kneel on George Floyd’s neck long after he had gone unconscious.

In response to the murder, thousands have been gathering around the world to protest police brutality and the systemic racism that pervades every part of American society. This sort of situation is by no means the first to exist. Since the early days of the United States, Black citizens have been unduly punished and killed by law enforcement. In 2014, the fatal shooting of Black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri resulted in mass protests. This occurred again in 2016, when 25-year-old Freddie Gray died while in police custody from a broken neck. 

These two instances may have been the most widely reported but are certainly not the only ones that have taken place. Unreported incidents of excessive force and racial profiling by the police occur regularly, raising questions about the goals and tactics of American law enforcement. 

The murder of George Floyd has forced townships and cities around the country to examine their own practices. According to’s Force Report, a Black person Rockaway Township is 1077% more likely to have force used on them by police than a white person. Though Black people make up only 3.9% of Rockaway Township’s population, they have made up 13.1% of arrests and 26.9% of the subjects of force since 2012. The disproportionate statistics indicate inherent biases within our local police department, similar to the those nationwide.

For many white Americans and some non-Black people of color, the recent surge in information sharing has revealed the inequities and injustices long-known to the Black community, not only in law enforcement but in society as a whole. The resurgence of the anti-racism movement has brought greater attention to the lack of sufficient representation in local, state, and federal government, the mass incarceration of Black citizens and other people of color, and the racist microaggressions Black people experience daily. 

In response, people have taken to the streets in protest. Instances of looting and violence led some to criticize the movement. At the same time,the aggressive use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and force by some police departments drew widespread condemnation. 

The Morristown chapter of Black Lives Matter has organized a large number of peaceful protests around Morris County. Hundreds attended a march in Parsippany on June 2nd, during which participants wore face masks and attempted to maintain social distancing.

Protesters repeatedly used the phrase “I can’t breathe,” a reminder of some of George Floyd’s last words, and called for fellow marchers to “say his name.” Other chants included “no justice, no peace” and “hands up, don’t shoot.” At the end of both the march in Parsippany and a youth-led protest this past Saturday in Florham Park, speakers took the stage to share their experiences with racism with the crowd. They called for reforms in education, local government, and individual mindset, emphasizing every citizen’s role in forming an anti-racist country.

This is just the beginning. Throughout the past few weeks, companies, institutions, and schools around the country have made promises to become actively anti-racist. It still remains to be seen if they will follow through.