Black Lives Matter: Five Turbulent Years in 80 Iconic Images

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Say their names: We’ve collected 80 of the most powerful Black Lives Matter-related images from the past five years. Newsweek

On the evening of February 26, 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin left his father’s fiancee’s house in a gated community in Orlando, Florida, to walk to a nearby 7-Eleven. Returning with a bag of Skittles and a drink, he caught the eye of neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman.

Thinking that Martin looked “suspicious,” Zimmerman called the police, and followed the unarmed black teenager. An altercation followed, and Martin was shot dead by Zimmerman.

For America’s black community, this incident was more than a tragic misunderstanding. Activists saw Martin’s death as part of a wider pattern of discrimination, harassment and deadly violence inflicted on their community, a hangover from America’s dark history of slavery and segregation which never fully went away.

Read More: Black Lives Matter Founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors Says Trump Is One Of 'Greatest Threats' To U.S. Democracy

Outrage over Martin’s death spread online, and reached fever pitch after Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder in 2013. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter began trending on social media, a counterpoint to some media reports and social media posts which smeared Martin as a “thug,” or suggested that black people were responsible for the violence of law enforcement.

Since Martin’s death, the movement has protested a number of subsequent killings, such as those of Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald and Eric Garner. The hashtag has spurred offline protests, marches and sit-ins. It has also moved beyond police brutality, and now agitates for the reduction of poverty, the end of the incarceration cycle of black men in the justice system, and better health and education funding.

Since President Donald Trump’s election, the movement has taken on a new sense of urgency. Last year saw a number of white supremacist demonstrations and rallies, which were counterprotested by activists.

Like many civil rights protest movements before it, Black Lives Matter has relied on the power of photography and video to spread its powerful message—a plea for humanity in the face of institutional violence. This has been expedited in the digital age, as witnesses can capture on camera violent incidents and self-publish them instantly on social media.

We’ve collected 80 of the most powerful Black Lives Matter-related images from the past five years, from crowds of protesters engulfed in clouds of tear gas, to heartbreaking funerals of the victims of police shootings.

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July 14, 2013: Keisha Martin-Hall holds a bag of Skittles during a protest rally in Times Square in New York after George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, who was carrying a bag of Skittles when he was shot by the neighborhood watch coordinator. Keith Bedford/Reuters
20140811 Ferguson
August 11, 2014: Riot police confront a protester in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot at least six times by police officer Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on August 9. Scott Olson/Getty Images
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August 13, 2014: A police officer in Ferguson conceals his/her identity while observing people taking part in protests against the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown. Scott Olson/Getty Images
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August 15, 2014: A woman covering part of her face looks into the camera during a demonstration to protest the shooting of Michael Brown and the resulting police response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Lucas Jackson/Reuters
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August 16, 2014: Demonstrators hold up signs in the rain while protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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August 17, 2014: Armed riot police with armored vehicles advance through a cloud of tear gas toward demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Scott Olson/Getty Images
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August 17, 2014: Tear gas rains down on a woman kneeling in the street with her hands in the air during a protest over the killing of teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. Scott Olson/Getty Images
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August 17, 2014: A protester in Ferguson wears a mock police uniform accusing the police of murdering black youths. Michael B. Thomas/AFP
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August 17, 2014: A woman gets help as she tries to recover from the effects of tear gas fired by police during a protest against the killing of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Scott Olson/Getty Images
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August 18, 2014: Police officers arrest a demonstrator in Ferguson during protests against the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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August 19, 2014: A demonstrator taunts police officers with raised arms before they move in to arrest him in Ferguson, Missouri. Joe Raedle/Getty Images