Defining the landscape of Black Lives Matter

Authors: Zaira Simone*, CUNY - Graduate Center
Topics: Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Black Lives Matter, Caribbean
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The slaying of George Floyd on May 25th ignited protests demanding justice for the countless deaths of Black people at the hands of the carceral state, not just across cities in the U.S., but in the Caribbean, where Black Lives Matter has been less visible. The weekly rallies organized in Barbados capital, Bridgetown, by many who have been involved in the struggle for reparations for slavery and colonialism, enforced attention not only to police murders in the U.S., but to colonial infrastructures that Black Barbadians live with, such as the statue of Lord Nelson. #Morvantblacklivesmatter, which marks the protests in response to the killing of three Black men by the police on June 27th in a working-class neighborhood in Trinidad (Mendes-Franco, 2020), has disrupted the silence of colorblindness, enforcing debates on race and class. Black Lives Matter demonstrations have also reenergized claims for reparations for “native” genocide, slavery and colonialism, made by CARICOM states as well as collectives representing the African American community in the U.S. Therefore, I ask how should we read this moment of Black Lives Matter, which has enforced geographies impacted by slavery and colonialism to re-evaluate their relationships to each other? Both their proximity and distance? And as Victoria Okoye asks, how might this challenge the provincializations of our scholarship and in this case the borders that separate the Caribbean from the U.S.?

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