The Black Lives Matter movement has just been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for the way its call for systemic change has spread around the world.
In his nomination papers, the Norwegian Member of Parliament Petter Eide said that the movement had forced countries outside the US to grapple with racism within their own societies.
“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 significant worldwide movement to fight racial injustice.
“They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice,” he added.
Eide has previously nominated human rights activists from Russia and China for the prize. According to him, another thing that impressed him about the Black Lives Matter movement was the way “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.”
Co-founded in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, the Black Lives Matter movement was formed in response to the acquittal in the US of the man who had shot Trayvon Martin. In 2014, the movement gained wider recognition following the protests over Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s death. In 2020, it began a series of global protests over George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s deaths.
Any politician serving at a national level can submit their nominations for the Nobel peace prize, with up to 2,000 words to state their case. The deadline for this year’s submission was February 1, and by the end of March, the committee prepares a shortlist. The winner will be chosen in October, and the award ceremony is scheduled for December 10.
Eide has said that he didn’t want his nomination for Black Lives Matter to comment on domestic US politics. He dismissed criticism from right-wing voices saying that the group had been behind violence in US cities.
“Studies have shown that most of the demonstrations organized by Black Lives Matter have been peaceful,” he added. “Of course, there have been incidents, but most of them have been caused by the activities of either the police or counter-protestors.”
Indeed, data assembled by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project in September 2020 showed that 93% of Black Lives Matter demonstrations involved no serious harm to people or property.
“There is actually a tradition for doing this,” Eide said. “It’s a strong linkage between antiracism movements and peace, and a recognition that without this kind of justice, there will be no peace and stability in the society.”
His written nomination concludes: “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.”