After the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Treyvon Martin in 2013, three African American community organizers (Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi) began a new social movement with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. This hashtag along with several other unexplained police shootings of several African American men (e.g., Amadou Diallo, Manuel Loggins Jr., Ronald Madison, Kendra James, Sean Bell, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Alton Sterling) led to a greater social movement. This movement has attempted to bring awareness to police brutality against the African American community. It has also recruited more support from various individuals, social scientists, and politicians leading to demonstrations across the United States. The criminal justice system has also paid attention and is taking a look at how to address this injustice. Some examples of recent solutions proposed include police body cameras, building trust between police and disenfranchised communities, and prosecuting those law enforcement officers who misuse lethal force.
However, the movement is far from over because these incidents continue to happen. As of 2017, The Washington Post’s police shooting database reports that there have already been 211 fatal shootings of civilians by police, regardless of race or ethnicity. In addition, more and more people have subscribed to alternative movements including “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter.” The All Lives Matter highlights how many people are targets of police brutality. The Blue Lives Matter movement argues that police are the target of civilian violence and police should be respected and protected. In a recent news article released, Dr. Cameron Lippard, App State Sociologist, pointed out that these movements have clashed with the Black Lives Matter movement. These movements have also overshadowed the original intent: African Americans face higher rates of police brutality than any other racial or ethnic group.
In response to these clashing movements and the problems of a racialized criminal justice system, Drs. Cameron Lippard and Ken Sanchagrin will be traveling to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to participate in an intrastate colloquium on Black Lives Matter. Drs. Cameron Lippard and Kenneth Sanchagrin will compare and contrast the myths and lived realities within this growing social movement looking for racial justice. Dr. Sanchagrin will begin the presentation by examining how the criminal justice system, public schools, and neighborhoods have created a perfect storm of conflict between African Americans and law enforcement. Particularly, he will discuss how law enforcement approaches of racial profiling and stop-and-frisk campaigns created serious mistrust of the police. Dr. Lippard will continue the discussion by highlighting the American (White) public’s problems with the movement. He will focus on how colorblind logic, reverse racism, and group threat shape White Americans’ backlash towards the movement. The presentation will end with Dr. Lippard discussing the overall development and success of the Black Lives Matter campaign, pointing out best practices of college student and local organizations seeking racial justice within the criminal justice system.
This event will be held at UNCW on Thursday, April 6th from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm followed by a reception.