“Blue Lives Matter” is a movement that started several months ago in response to the movement, “Black Lives Matter,” when tensions between law enforcement and African-Americans reached a high.
The Blue Lives Matter billboard campaign pays homage to police officers and originated in Memphis, Tennessee. It took hold and, with the help of the branding agency, Tactical Magic, the police have that honor more visibly in the way of billboards across several states.
Fox 17 reports that over 150 billboards were donated nationwide by Lamar Advertising, a firm in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Each of the Blue Lives Matter billboards includes the hashtag, #thankublu.
The first Blue Lives Mater billboard debuted in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on westbound I-98 on October 5. Several others have been displayed and is drawing its share of controversy.
Darel Ross, co-executive director of LINC Community Revitalization Inc., describes it as “shameful” that the “brand is being co-opted.”
“I think in some aspects it’s shameful that the brand is being co-opted, but once again it was never meant to say ‘only black lives matter.’
“Black lives matter was simply to call attention to a unique set of circumstances that was happening in the black community; and to any way undermine that, or belittle that, ultimately in no way shape or form adds to the relationship between police officers and the black community, or the community at large, because most people get it.”
Ross isn’t so convinced that the Blue Lives Matter campaign will strengthen the relationship between police and blacks.
— #BlueLivesMatter (@BlueLivesMatter) December 13, 2014
Cle Jackson, president of greater Grand Rapids’ NAACP chapter, feels that the sentiment behind the movement is honorable, but he wishes that it was “more intentional.”
“All lives matter right? So that’s why we came to the table in a very I think civil and sober manner with local law enforcement here to say how can we actually work together to improve community police relations.”
According to NBC Connecticut, the Blue Lives Matter billboards are making their way to more states and will stay on display until the end of the month.
In Connecticut, a billboard is up as drivers pass down southbound I-91, at Exit 34. There might up to 21 boards placed around the state alone. A number of Connecticut residents interviewed over their views on the billboards has been mostly positive. They think that police do a good job of protecting and serving fellow citizens, therefore they’re deservng of respect in return.
Other states you can expect to see Blue Lives Matter billboards will go up in Georgia, Oregon, and Ohio.
The Grio wrote a report bashing the police officer campaign, stating that it’s a “discredit to black humanity.” It notes in its report that only 12 percent of America’s police force is black.
The article points out that, until George Zimmerman was acquitted of the 2012 murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer in 2014, none of these hashtags existed before because they didn’t have to.
According to the writer, Lincoln A. Blades, the concept of using a similar slogan to Black Lives Matter is all the more infuriating.
“Specifically using the words ‘Blue Lives Matter’ as a counterpoint to ‘Black Lives Matter,’ the ridiculous and anti-intellectual creators of this campaign have firmly decided that propagating their white supremacy will be best masked under the guise of mourning men and women who died in the line of duty.
“As someone who loves his police officer friend and who also believes that black people shouldn’t be killed in the streets for frivolous reasons, I’m beyond pissed at idiots who aim to conflate these two concepts as dueling ideologies.”
Blades insists that he thought the billboards were to honor fallen police, not being a counter-campaign to Black Lives Matter.
Do the Blue Lives Matter billboards seem like the perfect formula in adding fuel to the erupting war between police and African-Americans?
[Photo Credit: Twitter]