Over the past year, the initials B-L-M have become synonymous with the fight for social change, but for many people, ‘Black Lives Matter’ remains a mystery.
In a small San Jose office, a cramped roundtable-type discussion about Black Lives Matters, what it does and doesn't mean, and how to get more people to listen to this message.
“It’s not a moment. It’s a movement and it’s a global movement,” said Baptist church leader, Sydney Webster who spearheaded the discussion, seeking input from the assembled group.
She says a 2012 hashtag; following the Trayvon Martin shooting went viral, coined the phrase and gave birth to a movement.
“Black Lives Matter is an intersectional movement that holds up the lives of all marginalized people,” Webster said.
“They have actually gotten people visible, out on the streets,” said one person at the discussion.
The TV perception of this movement has been drowned out in recent months by scenes of protest and violence. Many people confused by the name are concerned BLM has a singular focus.
“As soon as we learn to practice inclusion, we will start to erase the lines of systemic racism and discrimination,” said Christina Dixon, a recent college graduate.
Nationally and locally, there are fears a change in Washington will mean a change for the worse for race relations. But forum participants say keeping an open mind, even to differing political stripes, can help recast and strengthen the American tapestry.
"We all came together and connected and discussed what's hurting us? What we're afraid of in today's America," said Samina Masood a Silicon Valley executive director.
They are complex questions, but the people here believe replicating this type of open discussion everywhere will put everyone on the path to answers.
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