Cynthia Tuzo


Criminal Justice Department

Advisor: Prof. Robert Matarazzo

Document Type



Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an international activist organization that aims to fight racial inequality and injustice in America. During the summer of 2020, many American citizens utilized their First Amendment right to protest against the killings of unarmed Black people in association with the BLM movement. BLM emphasized the use of nonviolent tactics to fight injustice. Contrary to their emphasis, the protests associated with BLM were portrayed as both violent and peaceful depending on the political beliefs of the reporter. In my research, I consider what it means for a protest to be peaceful and whether the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 were peaceful, despite the differing portrayals. I used a scholarly article to lay out a definition of the term “peaceful protest”. I also relied on other scholarly articles about BLM and the Civil Rights Movement, a movement recognized for being peaceful, to lay the framework through which I would analyze the portrayal of BLM and its associated protests in media and news sources. I argue that Black Lives Matter was portrayed positively and negatively by opposing political sides but, despite the differing portrayals, the movement was predominantly peaceful.