Today, in the United States black people still face police brutality and sometimes death, while the perpetrators go unpunished as if the lives they have taken did not matter. However, the “Black Lives Matter” campaign continues to focus attention on this issue. The atrocities that people of color have had to deal with is finally being realized by more people. However, there are some who are still ignoring the problem. People have added their own ideas by changing the Black Lives Matter to an “all lives matter” concept. Nevertheless, it is not “all lives” that are harassed and brutalized by law enforcement, according to mainstream media.
The police have used their power against those in the African-American community for far too long. Those who rose up against racism and mistreatment, such as Huey P Newton, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and the many other activists who have fought, spoken out, and had their lives cut short during their struggle for equality. Today’s Black Lives Matter campaign is a nationwide group of all colors who are fighting together for human rights.
The Black Panther Party (BPP), founded in 1966, educated black people about their civil rights. They were focused on giving back to their community and freely exercised their Second Amendment rights. However, the government only saw the Black Panthers as a threat that stood up against the establishment, instead of an organized group helping it’s own. In fact, soon after the BPP was abolished in 1998, drugs and gangs began to rapidly infiltrate the black community.
The BPP was standing up for their communities. They rose up against police brutality and harassment, which still goes on today. They were keeping eyes on the police and patrolling them because, like today, police need accountability. The BPP stayed within the limitations of their rights; it was the law enforcement officers that abused the rights of the black community.
Next, came former President, Ronald Reagan, viewed the Black Panther Party as a threat, because they did not share the same ideology. So, the government designed a strategy, which put tactics into place, designed to infiltrate and demolish the BPP, while capturing the organizational leaders. Many of the tactics used by the American government were illegal. BPP leaders were put in jail, given life sentences, or murdered.
The Black Panther Party knew their rights and pushed the laws to the limit while they were carrying out Panther duties and when they were not. Members of the BPP were made to appear as criminals by those who wrote legislation and had control of the media. The BPP was attempting to improve things for all the communities, not just for black people, but also progressive white people who stood beside them. They also stood for anyone who was impoverished, in Oakland and around the globe. However, the black community was, and is still oppressed. The fight for freedom and equality still continues.
Opinion by Kelly J Newson
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Britannica: Black Panther Party
Image Courtesy of Elvert Barnes’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License