Claim: Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has claimed that Black Lives Matter “is a terrorist organization.” Similar claims are also present on Facebook.
Rating: This claim as FALSE. Black Lives Matter is primarily a movement that seeks to achieve racial equality for Black Americans through legal means such as peaceful protest, education, and voter awareness. It does not support looting or violence, and the incidences of both have been very small relative to the number of protests.
Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 by three Black women: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. It was created in response to the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old Black teenager who was shot by a neighborhood watch coordinator, as well as the continuous deaths of innocent Black people at the hands of law enforcement officers. Studies have shown that Black people have a higher likelihood of being stopped by police officers, even though they’re less likely than white people to be carrying drugs, guns, alcohol, or other forms of contraband.
BLM is explicitly non-violent, and seeks to drive attention and empathy through protest aimed at driving awareness and change through legal means.
BLM is also heavily decentralized, without central leadership, instead relying on local chapters and localized decision making to seek policy changes that combat racism. Some BLM groups advocate for data-driven policy changes to make policing fair to all, others advocate a reallocation of funding, also known as “defunding the police,” to reduce the scope of responsibility for police to fund other programs that are believed to be more effective at addressing the causes of crime. Notably the majority of Black Americans polled support Black Lives Matter and also support the presence of police in their communities.
Conclusion: While there are numerous misinformation campaigns that have attempted to discredit BLM, it’s important to know that supporters of the movement agree that anti-Black racism is bad and that there should be a serious effort taken by all Americans to combat it. While there is healthy debate on how to solve the effects of racism, there is broad agreement in the movement to work within the legal and political framework of the United States. Freedom of assembly and protest is protected by the US Constitution, and has been used by many Americans to be heard, including those who are loudly asking for racial justice by chanting “Black Lives Matter.”