The Black Lives Matter Movement’s Impact on Governments



Protestors hold up signs demanding for equal rights towards Black Americans and the LGBTQ+ community.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was founded in 2013 in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin and has since expanded to the UK and Canada. Their mission is to spread awareness and end violence targeted towards Black communities. As the movement continues to spread, more government officials have spoken out about their opinions towards the movement.

Governor Phil Murphy (D) released a press release on June 19 titled, Why Black Lives Matter in New Jersey. In it, he explained how the changes made towards Black America since the Civil War went in the right direction, but not enough to achieve full equality. Mr. Murphy did not respond to a request to comment on the movement.

“The reason that Black Lives Matter is because we are one state, one family, and we rise and fall, and we march and protest, as one,” Mr. Murphy said in a press release. “Saying Black Lives Matter is saying that in the struggle for the soul of humanity we must acknowledge a community that has been victimized for 401 years by racism and discrimination. Saying Black Lives Matter boldly states that we will not inherit your racism. We will fight it wherever it raises its ugly head.” 

While many people support the movement, many find it rude and offensive. Kimberly Klacik (R), a Black woman running for the Baltimore U.S. House seat said to the Fox News Rundown podcast on Tuesday, Aug. 25 that the BLM movement was “over excessive” and that there was no need to defund the police. Ms. Klacik did not request to respond to comment on the movement.

“You know, we got to be able to hold police officers accountable because there are bad cops,” Ms. Klacik said to Fox News. “There are not just good cops, and we have to understand that that does exist. I will be talking to police officers. It seems like we never hear their side of the story. You know, we hear from Black Lives Matter. We hear from the media. But what are the police saying? You know, when do the police get the microphone?”

Another government official that opposes BLM is former Mayor Gloria Whitehead of Woodcreek, Texas. She claimed that the movement had ties to socialist groups, such as the Black Panther Party, however, this is not true. Many protestors have protested for Ms. Whitehead to leave office. She has not left and her term expires November 2021. 

“Violence toward people of color occurs statistically more toward each other than by law enforcement encounters. BLM knows this but is masquerading its true agenda,” Ms. Whitehead said in a Facebook post. “I am not a supporter of BLM. Somehow this means my story, my position, my declaration that I am not a racist, makes me a racist. So Be It…”

On Thursday, June 8, the Texas Legislature unveiled the George Floyd Act, an act named after George Floyd. Mr. Floyd died after a white police officer held his knee against his neck for several minutes. This legislation banned police officers from possessing chokeholds across the state and changed the standard so that officers would need to prove that their actions were “necessary” instead of “reasonable.” All officers are also required to wear body cameras. The act was passed on June 25. 

“We acknowledge that the road to justice in Texas — particularly for Black and brown people in Texas — has been fraught with dead ends, dead ends of white supremacy, racial hatred and bigotry,” State Representative Harold Dutton (D), said during a virtual press conference. “These dead ends have to go — and particularly the dead ends that relate specifically to law enforcement.”

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a press release on Aug. 14 that $150 million would be cut from the police program. $80 million would be from moving the forensic lab and the internal affairs office to other city agencies. Another $50 million would come from traffic work, training, and recruitment. The final $20 million would be pushed to social services such as violence prevention, food access organizations such as Meals On Wheels, and abortion access programs. 

However, on Thursday, Sept. 17, Mr. Abbott signed a pledge opposing police budget cuts. He said that he would punish cities that decided to cut police budgets by threatening a state takeover of the city’s police department. In a news conference held at Fort Worth on Tuesday, Mr. Abbott said that he would make it “financially impossible” for cities to cut police budgets.

“It is particularly offensive that some cities are disrespecting and even defunding our law enforcement agencies in communities across the state,” Mr. Abbott said at a news conference. “Cities must prioritize public safety.”

According to Civiqs, an online survey research firm, the number of American voters who support the movement increased from 17 percent to 49 percent from before to after protests started in 2020. As the BLM movement gains momentum and sway in state capitals, it is possible that more and more challenges will be mounted against the group. Only time will tell whether BLM is successful in their goals.