The controversial movement Black Lives Matter will receive the Sydney Peace Prize for 2017, as announced by the Sydney Peace Foundation last week, marking the first time that this award has been granted to a group versus an individual.
The Sydney Peace Foundation “showcases solutions that prove that peace with justice is possible, and inspires and empowers people from all walks of life to create that reality,” according to their website.
The Peace Prize is awarded each year to people who SPF voters believe are globally active peacemakers. It includes an intricately hand-crafted trophy and $50,000 to support the recipient’s work in the nations. In the past, the Sydney Peace Prize has been awarded to renowned activists and philosophers like Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, and Mary Robinson.
And now the Prize has fallen into the hands of the recent-emerging civil rights movement of Black Lives Matter. The movement was pioneered by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi in 2013, shortly after the Zimmerman trial, in which George Zimmerman was acquitted for the shooting of a black teen. According to Garza:
“Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”
The Sydney Peace Foundation has found BLM an important peacemaking movement, but others would argue that the movement has created more division in American than reconciliation.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, only 4 out of 10 Americans support the movement, only 20% of white Republicans express backing, and 28% of white Americans confess opposition.
Donald Trump is also wary of the BLM’s activity. In an interview last July with Fox News, Trump called the movement a “threat,” and accused them of fueling the fire of police assassinations in the U.S.
Directly after his inauguration, the White House released a statement speaking out against the environment that movements like BLM have created in our nation:
“President Trump will honor our men and women in uniform and will support their mission of protecting the public. The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.”
Black Lives Matter leader Patrisse Cullors, in an interview with the Guardian expressed the exact attitude addressed in the White House statement. As she pondered the ultimate question of whether or not we need police, she came out with an unsettling answer for those that hold Trump’s respect for our officers:
“In our opinion: no, police are not going to give us safety. We’ve seen time and time again that actually what they do is provide death.”
The Sydney Peace Foundation speaks out against today’s leadership, which feeds into the view that organizations like BLM and its supporters are a part of an anti-police movement. The SPF states on their website that the current world leaders are “failing us” and that “they act from fear not hope or vision” in the midst of “climate change, inequality, and racism”:
“Although they often go unheard, extraordinary people around the world have powerful solutions. Together, we can create a peaceful, fair, just and compassionate world that cares for people and planet.”
Is this movement of people around the world opposing our leaders and officers true justice? Or is it simple rebellion that could lead America down a dangerous path of anarchy? Let us know what you think in the comments.