Recent Movements For Equality

George Floyd protests and the Black Lives Matter Movement

George Floyd died in the custody of, and due to the actions of, police on May 25th 2020. Civil unrest began the following day eventually spreading to more than 2,000 cities in 60 countries in support of the Black Live Matter movement.

The Black Lives Matter movement, which started in 2013 after the man who killed Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, was acquitted. The Black Lives Matter movement hit a tipping point of broad support after George Floyd’s death was publicly available for anyone to watch. George Floyd was one of a disproportionately high number of black people who died in the hands of police in the US in the last decades.

For a graph depicting the rate of fatal police shootings in the US by race, follow this link to Statista.

By June of 2020, customers and employees began asking leaders of companies both large and small, “What are you going to do about this?” And in unprecedented numbers, those leaders began addressing racial inequality in their respective companies and communities.

For more on the George Floyd protests and their place in history, follow this link to an article in TIME.

To see who is supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement, follow this link to a Pew Social Trends Study.

The Antiracism Movement

The Black Lives Matter Movement is shining a light on the inequities in policy and government for the physical safety of black people. The Antiracism Movement is shining a light on not physical safety, but emotional and psychological safety as well.

The term antiracism was coined by Dr. Ibram Kendi in his first best-selling book, “How to be an Antiracist.” In it, Dr. Kendi talks about his own journey of realizing that all of us, no matter our race, were raised in a racist system; we don’t notice everyday things that, because they are so normal, are actually symbols of a racial-class system where different races are expected to be superior or inferior. He says that each of us can choose to step out of this unconscious, ubiquitous system; and when we do, we are acting as conscious antiracists. Kendi defines being antiracist as an action, whereas racist and not racist is an identity.

This short interview with Dr. Kendi by Stephen Colbert (regardless of what you think of Colbert) clearly summarizes what it means to choose antiracist actions.

#MeToo Movement

The #MeToo Movement highlights and prosecutes sexual crimes that have previously gone disclosed and unlitigated. The title of the movement goes back to 2006, when it was used by sexual harassment survivor and activist Tarana Burke. It has resonated because so many women can read the headlines about harassment, sexual assault, and rape and say they, too, have had those experiences.

Lawsuits against Harvey Weinstein and other powerful people in the entertainment industry are the most prominent results of this movement, but it extends far beyond those cases. Thousands and perhaps millions of women globally have come forward to share their painful experiences. They do so to bring these stories to light, to show how common they are, to show solidarity with those in the headlines, to litigate where and when possible, and for personal catharsis and healing.

The Me Too Movement has aligned with the Black Lives Matter Movement in “intersectional support” to transform the systems that provide a home for racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of everyday and violent dehumanization.

Recent progress in policies and laws supporting equality in the US

YearMovementResult
1964Civil RightsCivil Rights Act: Prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or national origin. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission formed.
1990Disability RightsAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Prohibits discrimination based on disability
2015Gay RightsNormalization of people who identify as LGBTQ through Federal Supreme Court recognized marriage.Repeal of anti-gay laws in many states.
2017#MeTooPast systematized sexual crimes are being brought to court (e.g., Harvey Weinstein).
2020Black Lives MatterPast systematized crimes against Black communities are being addressed by courts (e.g., 1921 bombing of Black Wall Street in Tulsa)
2020DEI&B 2.0Obvious and subtle inequities in the workplace are getting increased attention. Leaders are responding with curious and creative mindsets.