Digital print, 2014
Tomorrow, February 26, marks the 10th anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s murder by George Zimmerman – who was exonerated 17 months later. The outrage generated by Zimmerman’s acquittal inspired activists Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi to create the social media hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter.
Two years later, the BLM movement spread nationally and internationally after police killed Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York – both unarmed Black men. The widely broadcast murder of George Floyd by police in 2020, resulted in demonstrations throughout the US and the world against police brutality.
Simultaneous demands to expose and eliminate systemic racism – including teaching a more inclusive and accurate US history – have resulted in an ongoing backlash. Books are being banned and demands to neutralize school curricula are spreading. The rationale is that history taught in schools should not “offend” or cause discomfort. So instead of teaching students about race and racism, should we continue to celebrate Columbus and wave the confederate flag? Don’t think so.