Poll: Support for Black Lives Matter Now Majority View among Young Adults

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Black Lives Matter protest march / Fibonacci Blue

September 5, 2016; CBS News

A new GenForward poll conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research indicates that fifty-one percent of white adults between the ages of 18 and 30 support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. This represents a 10-point increase since June 2016. Additionally, “eighty-five percent of African-American young adults now say they support the protesters. Sixty-seven percent of Asian and 62 percent of Hispanic young adults agreed with that sentiment.”

BLM, which grew out of street protests and a social media hashtag, is alternately praised and derided for its confrontational tactics, something this poll also noticed. Most young whites express concern that the movement’s rhetoric encourages violence against the police. The majority of young blacks do not agree.

According to its website, “The GenForward Survey is the first of its kind—a nationally representative survey of over 1750 young adults ages 18-30 conducted monthly that pays special attention to how race and ethnicity shape how respondents experience and think about the world.” The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation both gave support to the survey.

In other news, BLM has established a legal and fundraising partnership with International Development Exchange (IDEX). As the still-forming BLM movement continues to establish chapters and experiment with its organizational structure, IDEX enables the movement to receive grants and tax-deductible gifts from the general public. IDEX received some $2 million for BLM by the fiscal year ending June 2015.

The BLM relationship with IDEX goes deeper and more strategic than the mere facilitation of donations. BLM seeks to build alliances with IDEX’s international partners. “Black Lives Matter has agreed to make donations to IDEX’s partners in Zimbabwe and South Africa, in lieu of an administrative fee for the charity’s services.”

The relationship between BLM and IDEX is personal and longstanding.

Bhansali has known Garza and fellow Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors for about a decade through their work, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. She said Black Lives Matter has a strong interest in learning from social and cultural movements around the globe, which makes it a natural fit with IDEX and its work in needy communities in Africa, Asia and South America, where IDEX has supported more than 500 projects since 1985.

BLM is not the only initiative in this space. There is also the Movement for Black Lives, often referred to as M4BL. According to the Washington Times, “The Ford Foundation and Borealis Philanthropy recently announced the formation of the Black-Led Movement Fund [BLMF], a six-year pooled donor campaign aimed at raising $100 million for the Movement for Black Lives coalition.”

The BLM movement and related initiatives in the U.S. (and, increasingly, overseas) is a fast-changing and growing phenomenon. NPQ will continue to report on these developments.—James Schaffer