Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Student Reflections on Topics Covered in our Class

Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Impacts of the Black Lives Matter Movement

October 22, 2020 · No Comments · BLM, Uncategorized


Accomplishments of Black Lives Matter

Many cities across the nation have begun steps to defund the police force. The police force has always been over funded with the intention of purchasing leftover unnecessary weapons from the military. These funds have not been utilized in a way that provides the services needed for communities. Police are untrained in many situations that they may face creating a need for more specialized professionals and services. The cities that have agreed to divert funds include New York, Baltimore, Portland, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. This huge accomplishment can start a change in policing worldwide. There is currently a movement against SARS (anti robbery squad) who take advantage of position and power to rob the citizens of Nigeria. With the right pressures and awareness, we can shut programs like this. Unfortunately, it is not a quick process. For example, in June of 2019, 22 countries condemned China”s Uyghur camps where Muslims are being imprisoned, tortured and killed yet it is still happening in increasing numbers today. Schools are also taking a stand by increasing diversity into the curriculum and ending their contracts with local police forces. A lot of the movements generated were statements of solidarity from big companies. Unless backed by active efforts in the company policies and practices, these messages only serve to gain misleading trust from potential consumers.

Global phenomenon

Technology has allowed the movement to reach incredible numbers. Many other countries have also shown solidarity making it a global movement. It has also inspired protests against other injustices in various countries. Awareness of these worldwide issues is creating momentum for serious significant changes. These injustices include equal rights for lgbtq+ community in countries like Thailand.

Systematic racism in health

The systematic racism rampant throughout America has not been resolved as much as we would like to think. It has only been 50+ years since African Americans weren’t even allowed to eat in certain places. In order to correct these injustices, it will require drastic changes in government laws and policies. The previous ones still have the lingering effects on African American health. Redlining for example has placed African American in areas that have not been invested in and remain underfunded today. This creates a myriad of negative determinants of health that contribute to many diseases like the high diabetes cases among the African American community. This is just one of the many reasons behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

Racist Backlash

There has been backlash to these calls for justice. Blue lives matter and All lives matter has attempted to discredit the work being done. Both of these ideas are invalid because of the simple fact that their lives are not at stake or being threatened by something they can’t change. Some have claimed that the livelihood of these policemen are being threatened but what is their livelihood compared to the countless deaths of African Americans each year by the hands of these policemen. It is very important to create responsibilities and consequences for these egregious actions. If not, it will continue like it has for years. It is also important to realize the source of the police system. Historically it has evolved and stemmed from the slavery and has always disproportionately targeted minority groups. Since it has never been equal  and just since its inception then the system clearly needs to be changed. All lives matter and Blue Lives Matter disregard the problems that are being called to attention for a specific group. It is a form of gas lighting that distracts and attempts to undermine the severity of these crimes. 


Due to the constant oppression of minority groups and a sort of disregard for the black agenda, there is a low voter turnout in the African American community. This is sort of an ironic truth as to see the changes we want we need to be more civically engaged and politically literate. There is a common misconception that our vote doesn’t matter but our collective vote could easily tip the scales. Only 60% of African Americans turned out for the 2016 election. This means 4.4 million African Americans did not vote in the 2016 Primary let alone the general and local elections for state and congressional officers like senators and sheriffs. This is known by people in power and is a strategy of voter suppression. Many schools that serve primarily African American or other minority groups are underfunded and education is not at the level it should be. This makes the importance of voting unknown to a significant part of the population. Voting and civic engagement will be crucial in reaching the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Why now?

Technology has also helped in raising awareness of all of the unjust shootings and killings of African Americans by the police. It also happens quickly with shocking visuals across social media platforms. This creates a wide group reaction as African Americans bond and mourn over their group trauma. This along with the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate effect on African Americans due to healthcare disparities as well as COVID-19 natural disproportionate effect on African Americans in general created the circumstances to start these consistent protests nationally and worldwide. I believe with the pandemic causing more people to be home it allowed for time and space to create organized efforts we see in the news and media. This has the potential of being a momentous place in history and advancement of equality among African Americans but we still have a long way to go.



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