The Black Lives Matter movement started in the U.S., but its global reach has made it an ideal candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize, says the Norwegian lawmaker who nominated BLM for the prize this year.
Norwegian Parliament member Petter Eide nominated the movement for a Nobel Peace Prize, one of the highest humanitarian awards. The Norwegian Nobel Committee prepares to receive nominations every year in September, with a Feb. 1 deadline for submissions.
“This movement has become one of the strongest global movements for working with racial injustice,” Eide, a lawmaker who has represented the Socialist Left party in parliament since 2017, told Agence France-Press, according to Yahoo News. “They have also been spread to many many countries, building up … awareness on the importance of fighting racial injustice.”
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has always recognized a strong connection between racial justice and peace,” Eide told CNN, adding that he sees a “legacy from both the civil rights movement in America and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa” in the BLM movement.
Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi started Black Lives Matter in 2013, after the acquittal of George Martin in the death of Trayvon Martin. The organization’s website says they now have more than 40 chapters globally.
“Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise,” reads BLM’s “herstory” page. “It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”
BLM shared the news of the nomination on Twitter, writing, “We’re only getting started”:
We hold the largest social movement in global history. Today, we have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. 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 ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/xjestPNFzC
— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) January 30, 2021
Eide told The Guardian of BLM, “they have been able to mobilize people from all groups of society, not just African-Americans, not just oppressed people — it has been a broad movement, in a way which has been different from their predecessors.”
“They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice,” he said.
Since news of the nomination broke, the lawmaker has received several hate messages.
“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 told ABC News, adding, “They were very nasty, and some of them were also threats. They were hateful.”
However, Eide said he was prepared for the backlash. He’d done plenty of research on the movement before the nomination and will not rescind it.
“We found studies showing more than 90% of the demonstrations in the U.S. were peaceful,” Eide told ABC News. “Most of those incidents of violence was based on either aggressive police behavior or counter-demonstrations. I’m quite convinced that Black Lives Matter is a peaceful organization.”
The six-member Norwegian Nobel Committee receives hundreds of nominations every year from thousands of qualified nominators. They will create a shortlist of nominees in March and select the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in October.