The Black Lives Matter movement has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for its ability to promote systemic change not only in the U.S. but throughout the global community. The nomination was issued by Norwegian member of parliament Petter Eide. In his nomination, Eide noted that the movement forced countries across the world to address racism within their own societies and bring “forward a new consciousness and awareness about racial justice.”
According to The Guardian, Eide has previously nominated human rights activists from Russia and China for the prize. He shared that one thing that impressed him about the Black Lives Matter movement was the way the organization was able to mobilize people from diverse backgrounds, “not just African-Americans, not just oppressed people, it has been a broad movement, in a way which has been different from their predecessors.”
“I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality,” Eide told NewsNation. “Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice.”
“In the United States alone, an estimated twenty million people have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests, and millions more have made their voices heard all over the world. This illustrates that racism and racist violence is not just a problem in American society, but a global problem, including Sweden.”
“People are waking up to our global call: for racial justice and an end to economic injustice, environmental racism, and white supremacy. We’re only getting started,” Black Lives Matter wrote on Twitter in response to the nomination.
Eide told multiple news outlets that he didn’t want his nomination to be seen as a political move but instead support for an organization that has held a wide range of peaceful movements. “For the Nobel Prize Committee, this is not unusual to link a fight for (racial) justice, to link that with peace,” Eide said, according to USA Today. “There will be no peace without justice.”
“Studies have shown that most of the demonstrations organized by Black Lives Matter have been peaceful,” Eide added. “Of course there have been incidents, but most of them have been caused by the activities of either the police or counter-protestors.”
According to a 2020 report from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, about 93% of racial justice protests in the U.S. since the death of George Floyd have been peaceful with no harm to people or property, CNN reported. “I do not condone violence and if I thought Black Lives Matter was a violent group I would not have nominated them,” Eide said.
Despite evidence that Black Lives Matter protests have been peaceful, Eide told ABC News that he’s already received a lot of criticism from people claiming the organization and its protests are violent.
“This weekend I have received so many negative responses from individual Americans telling me that Black Lives Matter is a violent and aggressive organization, that they are deliberately using violence as a political communication tool and that nominating them for the Nobel Peace Prize is quite insane,” Eide said in an interview with ABC News.
In response to the threats and criticism he has received, Eide shared he was prepared for this criticism and argued that the same arguments were made against historical figures like Dr. Martin Luther King. He added that he had no plans to rescind the nomination.
The Black Lives Matter Movement was founded on social media by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi in 2012 after the death of Trayvon Martin. From a mere hashtag used to share thoughts on police brutality and racial injustice, the movement grew into chapters across the U.S., with allies around the world.
Whether or not the organization wins the Nobel Peace Prize, Eide noted that the work it has done is worth recognizing.
“Awarding the peace prize to Black Lives Matter, as the strongest global force against racial injustice, will send a powerful message that peace is founded on equality, solidarity and human rights, and that all countries must respect those basic principles,” Eide wrote in his nomination.
According to the Nobel Peace Prize website, nominations are accepted from any member of national assemblies and national governments of sovereign states, as well as current heads of states. A maximum of 2,000 words can be submitted in support of their nomination. While the deadline for this year’s submissions is Feb. 1, the committee prepares a shortlist of finalists by the end of March. The winner is then chosen in October.
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