In 2014, a series of high-profile police brutality and racial injustices' rocked the United States. In Staten Island, Eric Garner, an African-American man, died after being put in a chokehold by a white police officer during an arrest. Garner's last words, "I can't breathe," became a rallying cry for protesters nationwide.
In Sanford, Florida, an unarmed African-American teenager, Trayvon Martin, was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted of Martin's murder, sparking outrage.
And in Ferguson, Missouri, Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer named Darren Wilson. Brown's death sparked protests in Ferguson and across the country, as many saw it as a symbol of systemic racism and police brutality.
These deaths recorded and distributed on the internet started a national conversation about something largely left unseen, police violence and racial injustice in America. Protesters took to the streets in cities across the country, demanding change and calling for accountability for police officers who used excessive force.
However, not everyone was supportive of the protests. In response to the nationwide demonstrations against police brutality, a movement called Blue Lives Matter emerged. Blue Lives Matter is a pro-police movement that seeks to support and defend law enforcement officers and their work.
The emergence of Blue Lives Matter highlighted the deep divisions in America over issues of policing, race, and justice. While some saw the movement as a necessary response to what they saw as unfair targeting of police officers, others saw it as a distraction from the urgent need to address police brutality and racial injustice.
The controversy over police violence and racism in America continues to this day, with ongoing protests and debates over issues of police reform and criminal justice. The deaths of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown in 2014 were just the beginning of a long and challenging conversation that will continue to shape the future of America.