As much of the nation focused on the end of the Republican National Convention last week, protesters with the Movement for Black Lives (often called Black Lives Matter) took to the streets in more than two dozen cities, one of the largest acts of joint protest in the movement’s two-year history, reports the Washington Post. The show of strength came as leaders of the movement say they’ve doubled down on their mission after the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in a St. Paul, Mn., suburb, black men whose deaths were captured on video.
It has been four years since the creation of the #BlackLivesMatter rallying cry, and nearly two years since the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice thrust thousands into U.S. streets to protest police killings. After the murder this month of five police officers in Dallas — a targeted shooting by a lone-wolf gunman who claimed to have been enraged by police killings of black men — some declared the incident a crippling development for the protest movement. “We have no choice but to keep going,” said Brittany Packnett, an activist who was among those who attended a meeting to discuss race and policing convened by President Obama this month. She said recent police shootings have prompted a new wave of energized participants to join the protest movement. “If one of the central demands of the movement is to stop killing us, and they’re still killing us, than we don’t get to stop either.”