In 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement took to the streets to protest the police forces and private citizens who kill Black people yet receive no penalty of any kind. The movement directly names and confronts a signature aspect of the United States government: that it treats Black people as disposable bodies valuable only for the labor which may be extracted from them and who thus can be killed with impunity by its agents. The movement fights back by valuing Black lives and holding police forces and private citizens accountable for murder. By emphasizing lives over bodies, Black Lives Matter’s name exposes these assumptions, which have been baked for centuries into the history of the United States.

This essay may be found on page 22 of the printed volume.

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