Home News BLM Co-Founder “It is a watershed moment. The entire world is saying, ‘Black Lives Matter'”

BLM Co-Founder “It is a watershed moment. The entire world is saying, ‘Black Lives Matter'”

by Paul Goldberg

In a new interview with Newsweek, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors calls the protests and events that followed George Floyd’s death a “watershed moment” and says “The entire world is saying ‘Black Lives Matter’”

Here are some of the questions and answers she provided.

What was it about George Floyd’s death that sparked this international response?

A number of things. I think it’s seven years of viral videos of Black people dying. I think it’s multiple years of us watching white women call the police on Black people. I think it’s multiple years of viral videos of Black men being kicked out of places like Waffle House, kicked out of everyday dining experiences. I think it’s living under COVID-19 and Black people having the highest rates of dying and having little access to health care. I think it’s millions of people being unemployed, including Black communities. And just a despair…And we’re tired of this. Enough is enough.

It is a watershed moment. The entire world is saying, “Black Lives Matter.”

Chantal Da Silva:

You have also been a leader in calls to defund the police. Do you believe law enforcement should be defunded entirely?

Patrisse Cullors:

Yes. I think we need to reimagine public safety. I think the way in which policing works right now in its current iteration is toxic, harmful and dangerous. When we’re calling for defunding of law enforcement, we’re actually calling for a reimagining of what keeps everybody safe and trying to challenge this idea that the way we hold people accountable is through more violence and more harm.

Chantal Da Silva:

There are fears that protests might lead to further spread of COVID-19, but it’s also being said that police brutality and racism are as much public health issues as coronavirus. What’s your take?

Patrisse Cullors:

I think it’s scapegoating. [President Donald Trump], from the very beginning, when it came to the pandemic, has consistently undermined both science and the needs of communities across the country. I do not believe protesting has caused more COVID-19 positives. I think that it’s Trump, who has opened up the country way too early and didn’t provide the resources that communities demanded.

Chantal Da Silva:

How do you feel to see people in countries around the world say those words, Black Lives Matter?

Patrisse Cullors:

It’s powerful. I feel very grateful…It was really moving. I also feel scared. Whenever we’re effective in our organizing, there’s a serious backlash. And I think we have to be mindful that in these moments, when we’re winning, we have to be ready and prepared for the backlash, of what that looks like and how to counter it.

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