The Black Lives Matter movement has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
Norwegian MP Petter Eide nominated the global movement “for their struggle against racism and racially motivated violence,” he wrote in his official nomination papers, which were obtained by CNN.
“BLM’s call for systemic change have spread around the world, forcing other countries to grapple with racism within their own societies,” he said.
The Black Lives Matter protest movement, rekindled in the days after an unarmed George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis last May, continues to shine a light on what it calls systemic racism and police brutality from America’s small towns to its urban centers.
The group, which started with a hashtag in 2012 after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, has grown into a social juggernaut. It has changed the way people talk about police brutality and inequality.
While there is no way to know exactly how large the movement has become, the organization has branched out with chapters all over the world and held rallies, boycotts and other actions across the United States.
Online, it’s what many have used to spread the message against police brutality. And globally, it’s being used by many to show solidarity with Black people.
A global effort to fight inequality
Eide, who has represented the Socialist Left party in parliament since 2017, told CNN he saw in Black Lives Matter a “legacy from both the civil rights movement in America and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.”
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has always recognized a strong connection between racial justice and peace,” Eide said
In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the prize for “his non-violent struggle for civil rights for the Afro-American population,” according to the Nobel Prize website.
Other Nobel peace prizes were associated with the South African anti-apartheid movement from the ‘60s to the ‘90s, including those of Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk, awarded jointly in 1993 for transitioning the nation from a system of racial segregation.
Eide, who held the position of secretary general of Amnesty International Norway in the 2000s, said he received multiple emails and messages following his announcement of the nomination.
“People message me to say that BLM is a violent organization,” he said. “I condemn all kinds of violence. However, these arguments were the same when Martin Luther King received the prize in 1964, or when Mandela received it in 1993.”
“It is not a strong argument,” he added. “If some elements of the movement may have been violent, that is not a reason to blame the whole movement.”
A 2020 report from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project showed that about 93% of racial justice protests in the US since the death of George Floyd have been peaceful and non-destructive.
“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,” the Black Lives Matter movement tweeted on Friday. “We’re only getting started.”
Any politician serving at a national level can submit nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. They are allowed just 2,000 words to state their case.
The deadline for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize’s submission is February 1. The winner will be chosen in October, with the award ceremony scheduled for December 10.
CNN’s Leah Asmelash, Sara Sidner and Mallory Simon contributed to this report.