Bowling Green chapter of Black Lives Matter seeks to take control of the narrative

02/28/2017 02:24 PM

BOWLING GREEN – The Black Lives Matter chapter in Bowling Green is less than a year old, but the founders of the chapter are coming together to start their own narrative about the role of the movement within their city.

The Bowling Green chapter was founded in June of 2016. The four founders: Brandon Render, Veronica Reed, Lydia Billion and Chasity Rodgers created the chapter to help organize those wanting to take action, but they say some didn’t know how to get involved in a larger discussion on race and community relations.

Co-founder Brandon Render says since the group formed, they have held vigils and been involved in local politics.

“We feel like we’ve accomplished quite a bit for how young we are,” Render said. “We’ve held a few vigils, we’ve also put a lot of pressure on some local politicians to enact some things we believe in, sort of like a fairness ordinance.”

Opinions about the Black Lives Matter movement vary, and according to Render part of the reason they came together in Bowling Green is so that they could start their own narrative about the mission of the movement.

“There are a lot of negative connotations that go along with Black Lives Matter,” Render explained, going on to say they “are working on being an intersectional movement so we can see the kind of change that we want.”

Render says one of the biggest challenges that Black Lives Matter faces is getting people to understand the need for the movement, since some may never experience racial inequality or discrimination.

The phrase “All Lives Matter” sprung up in response to the movement, but has been met with the criticism that it misunderstands the purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement, according to reporting by USA Today.

Additionally, in the wake of police shootings the “Blue Lives Matter” movement was created by retired and active law enforcement officers to bolster support for officers, according to the group’s website.

A “Blue Lives Matter” bill (HB 14) was passed by the Kentucky House earlier this month, and it would give hate crime protections to police officers and emergency responders.

Render says a hate crime against a person that chooses a particular profession isn’t necessarily a hate crime, and that people feel like they can’t support both the police and minorities.

“I think that there a lot of people that feel like it’s necessary to co-op the Black Lives Matter movement, because they feel like we can’t assert ourselves in the community without trying to push someone else out of the community,” Render said. “So they don’t see it as both people or both groups can work together to create the kind of change that we want, they see it as it has to be one or the other.”

Render went on to explain that Black Lives Matter is “not here to advocate violence towards police officers, or anybody in the first responding profession. We’re just here to create the kind of change we want to see whenever it comes to police harassment and brutality.”

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