The Black Lives Matter movement, which spread throughout the globe following the killing of George Floyd and called for systemic change, has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, The Guardian reported. Norwegian Parliament member Petter Eide, who made the nomination, said the movement forced countries around the world to focus on dealing with racism.
“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 said. “Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice. They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice.”
The human rights activist, who was previously nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, said he was impressed by the protesters’ ability to mobilize people from all groups of society.
“It has been a broad movement, in a way which has been different from their predecessors,” Eide said.
Although the movement made a global impact in the past year, the initiative took off in 2014 after the killing of Trayvon Martin. Founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi ramped up their efforts in the following years as the issue of police brutality continued to escalate with the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and dozens more Black Americans. The past year brought many more similar cases, including the killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
Critics chastised the movement in 2020, citing the riots which broke out amid the protesters and resulted in the damage of some properties. However, a study by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project concluded that 93% of Black Lives Matter demonstrations didn’t involve serious harm to people or property.
“Studies have shown that most of the demonstrations organized by Black Lives Matter have been peaceful,” Eide said. “Of course there have been incidents, but most of them have been caused by the activities of either the police or counter-protestors.”
The 61-year-old politician said recognition for the Black Lives Matter movement would send a strong message to the world.
“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,” he said.
The Nobel Peace Prize committee accepts nominations from any politician serving at a national level. The nominators are allowed to make their case in fewer than 2,000 words. Past winners of the prize include Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Rigoberta Menchú Tum, former President Barack Obama, Malala Yousafzai and Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed.
After choosing a winner in October, the committee will hold a ceremony on Dec. 10.