Elias Alcantara | #BlackLivesMatter: Movements, Advocacy, and Policy

By Elias Alcantara

During my five-year tenure serving in the Obama Administration, I followed closely the evolution and ultimate eruption of the events that took the #BlackLivesMatter movement to the national and international stage.

For me, it was incredibly personal, but also necessary to better understand the movement as a staffer to the 44th President of the United States. In short, this means that I spent a lot of time doing research, reading articles, tracking news and talking to partners on the ground to gain a deeper understanding of the movement in real-time. In the aftermath of the Ferguson protests, I assisted in the formation of the 21st Century Policing Task Force. I also supported efforts to implement the recommendations in hundreds of jurisdictions across the country. I am incredibly proud of what we were able to accomplish but also understood that the issues the #BlackLivesMatter movement brought attention to could not be completely solved by any one President. 

My perspective on this panel is rooted in analyzing and dissecting the impact that movements and advocacy, such as #BlackLivesMatter, have or don’t have on policy, cultural and political change. Below are several articles that I’ve read over the years and capture that very perspective. I have also included several resources that highlight a number of the Obama Administration’s policies and reports that were released in the aftermath of Ferguson. 

Beyond ‘Black Lives Matter’, Op-Ed by Charles Blow, NY Times, Sept. 2, 2015

After Dallas, the Future of Black Lives Matter,Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, July 10, 2016

21st Century Policing Task Force Report, Released in May 2015 by Obama Administration Department of Justice 

Fees, Fines and Bail Report, Released in December 2015 by the Council of Economic Advisers