The Black Lives Matter movement was nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. One of the nominators, Norwegian Member of Parliament Petter Eide, announced the movement as his first choice.
The nominations were due Feb. 1, they will announce the winner in October and the award ceremony will happen in December. Other nominees include the World Health Organization (WHO), Greta Thunberg, and former President Donald Trump.
The nominators can choose to announce or not announce their picks, and Eide’s nomination papers said the nomination for the Black Lives Matter movement is a big achievement to raise global awareness about racial injustices.
“Awarding the Peace Prize to Black Lives Matter, as the strongest global force against racial injustice, will send a powerful message that peace is founded on equality, solidarity and human rights, and that all countries must respect those basic principles,” Eide said.
Alden Bass, Assistant Professor of Bible and sponsor for the Oklahoma Christian University Black Student Union (BSU), said it is unusual to nominate a movement instead of an individual, but the Black Lives Matter movement has always been decentralized.
“There’s never been a figure head,” Bass said. “People cannot say a name, like Martin Luther King with the civil rights movement. Giving it to Black Lives Matter is very different than, say, when King got the Nobel Prize. If there is a benefit it would be to give legitimacy to that movement and to say the world recognizes the importance of it.”
Derrick Walter, BSU’s president, said the nomination is a true testament of what the movement is about.
“It is not necessarily saying that Black lives are the only lives that matter,” Walter said. “We want America to know that all lives cannot matter until our lives matter just as equally.”
Kiva Maxwell, an active student member of the BSU, attended the March on Washington last year, in remembrance of the first March in 1963.
“We marched for Black lives to matter, for legislation that protects Black lives,” Maxwell said. “The sheer fact that the Black Lives Matter movement was nominated for a Nobel peace prize is extraordinary.”
Harold Orndorff, associate professor of political science, said the Nobel Peace Prize is a validation for the Black Lives Matter movement confirming the nonequivalence between other violent protests.
“You don’t get peace prizes for storming congress and attempting the takeout of the vice president,” Orndorff said. “There is an idea that the Black Lives Matter movement was no different than that. Attributing [the Nobel] to the movement is an indication that no, these are not equivalent things.”
Walter said the Nobel Peace Prize nomination is important to the Black Lives Matter movement, but the victory is not essential.
“I do not think we would be discouraged if they lose,” Walter said, “In the end of the day, with a Nobel Prize or not, Black lives still matter.”
Trinity Carpenter, the BSU vice-president, said the Black Lives Matter movement directly impacted BSU students on the Oklahoma Christian campus, but it had a different meaning locally than nationally.
“There’s always been police brutality and it has always affected our Black students,” Carpenter said. “But as far as our BSU here at Oklahoma Christian, it has showed us that we can still have a voice and that we can’t be silent. We have to keep pushing, because that is what our ancestors did, the fight doesn’t stop here.”
Walter said the Black Lives Matter movement impacted the BSU with encouragement to bring the same attitude to campus.
“We need to have uncomfortable conversations in this campus, and the Black Lives Matter movement has impacted us in bringing this platform here to Oklahoma Christian,” Walter said.