Black Lives Matter didn’t form from nothing after the fatal police shooting of Mike Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, but it was then that the movement began to build the longevity to survive and grow for the two years to come.
Since that shooting, protesters have demonstrated against police brutality on highways, outside airports and in front of police stations across the country. Activists have built various actionable frameworks to fight police violence, racism in the housing industry, racism embedded in the nation’s criminal justice system and more.
We’ve outlined some of the major protests and developments in the movement since Brown died, below.
Fatal shooting of Tamir Rice
Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old black boy carrying a toy gun in Cleveland when police drove up to him and, less than a second after exiting the car, fatally shot him.
Though protests followed for weeks after the shooting, a grand jury did not indict either officer involved.
No indictment in killing of Eric Garner
Protesters demonstrated across New York City after another grand jury chose not to indict a New York Police Department officer after he put Garner in a chokehold on Staten Island earlier in 2014 and refused to release Garner even as the man pleaded, “I can’t breathe,” over and over.
Return to Selma, Alabama
A sea of activists young and old descended on Selma, Alabama, in March 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, during which activists marched in one of the most iconic and infamous days of the Civil Rights Movement. Activists advocating for equality for black Americans in 1965 were brutalized by police.
Fatal shooting of Walter Scott
On April 4, 2015, Walter Scott sprinted across an empty lot behind a pawn shop, away from North Charleston officer Michael Slager, who’d drawn his gun.
Slager fired at Scott until Scott fell. All of it was captured on video by a man walking who happened to be on the other side of a fence.
The aftermath led to protests in North Charleston and calls for a citizen review board to oversee police, though that call went unheeded. Slager was arrested and charged with murder.
Freddie Gray fatally injured inside a police vehicle, protests ensue
Days after Scott was shot down, officers in Baltimore threw 24-year-old Freddie Gray in the back of a police van unbuckled. By the end of the ride, his neck and spine were damaged beyond repair.
Protesters demonstrated in Baltimore streets for weeks after Gray’s death, and those protests erupted into clashes with police in late April.
Tensions built as officers arrested protesters and patrolled black neighborhoods with helicopters and armored trucks, only beginning to calm when all six officers involved in Gray’s death were charged with various crimes. Some were charged with manslaughter and murder.
Self-proclaimed white supremacist Dylann Roof sat in a late-night Bible study group with parishioners of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17. During the session, he stood, pulled out a gun, and killed nine people who were part of the fabric of the city’s community.
Mourners gathered outside the church for weeks afterward, shedding tears and dropping flowers. President Barack Obama flew down to speak at the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a widely respected reverend and politician who was among those who died.
Roof was arrested soon after. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
What happened to Sandra Bland?
Sandra Bland pulled over on a Texas road three days before her death and waited for the police officer to walk up to her driver-side door.
When he did, he asked Bland to put out her cigarette. She asked why she should. Dash-cam video of the incident shows the officer pulling Bland from her car, throwing her to the ground and handcuffing her.
Police said she committed suicide in her jail cell three days later.
The arresting officer was fired, but the loss of his job was not nearly enough for activists, family members and others who can’t believe Bland took her own life. She had, after all, just taken a new job.
Those following the incident used #WhatHappenedToSandraBland to discuss other possibilities.
The following year, in April, a panel reviewing the Waller County Jail, where Bland was held, said jail staff didn’t do enough to prevent suicide and found that their medical screenings needed vast improvement.
Back to Ferguson
On Aug. 9, 2015, police in Ferguson shot a black teenager named Tyrone Harris after Harris allegedly pulled a gun and began shooting at officers.
Tensions and protests picked up again in the city, echoing the many weeks of protests from the year before.
Harris survived, but was charged with assault.
Activists release campaign framework to combat police brutality
In late August 2015, activists released a platform called Campaign Zero, which aims to reduce incidents of police violence.
The group aims to do this “by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability,” according to its website.
Protests across college campuses
Student activists at the University of Missouri forced the university system president to resign after a series of protests during which they said he had not responded quickly to a series of racist occurrences on campus.
Those protests prompted a wave of activism at universities and colleges across the U.S., resulting in several more changes, such as the start of a review at Harvard Law School that led to the removal of a seal that came from the family of slaveholders who once funded the school.
Fatal shooting of Jamar Clark
A Minneapolis officer fatally shot 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15, 2015, just blocks from a police station after police were called to the home for a domestic disturbance. Clark died the following day.
Protesters then camped outside of that police station for days, erecting tents and supplying food to each other. They endured bullets fired at them by men who came to disrupt the protest.
Police vehicles eventually bulldozed the protest site.
A reckoning in Chicago
Chicago officials released video of a police officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times more than a year after the incident took place.
Though the city took more than a year to show the video to the public, the repercussions reverberated through the city much faster.
The mayor of Chicago fired the city’s police superintendent. The state’s attorney, who often deals with cases of police misconduct, was obliterated in her reelection attempt months later.
But Chicago continues to be under the microscope as more videos of police misconduct continue to stream out of the city. The latest round of video releases depicting police fatally shooting a fleeing black teenager were revealed just earlier this month.
The fatal shooting of Alton Sterling
Baton Rouge police officers pinned a black man named Alton Sterling to the ground before one of them pulled out a gun and fatally shot him.
The officers were called after getting a complaint that a man had threatened another person with a weapon outside the gas station where Sterling regularly sold CDs.
Protests followed, and police dressed in militaristic gear that recalled Ferguson back in 2014 arrested more than 100 demonstrators.
The fatal shooting of Philando Castile
One day later, a police officer in Minnesota fatally shot Philando Castile at a traffic stop.
Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, live-streamed the incident just after Castile was shot. Police handcuffed her, but not before she had enough video to make sure the world remembered Castile’s name.
A sniper kills five police officers in Dallas
Just a few days after that, during one of many protests against police brutality that took place across the country that week, a sniper fired on police in downtown Dallas, killing five officers.
A gunman kills three police officers in Baton Rouge
The fatal shooting of police officers in Dallas wasn’t the final such incident that month. A former marine killed three officers in Baton Rouge as protests in the city were still ongoing.
Charges dropped in Freddie Gray case
The day six officers were charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray was seen as a potential watershed moment, though few black Baltimore residents were under the illusion that charges meant convictions.
And they were right.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who brought the charges, said her decision to drop them more than a year later resulted from not being able to pick whether the cases were decided by a judge or a jury, and that her team had to rely on Baltimore police to investigate themselves.
Activists across the U.S. release broad plan to fight many forms of racism in America
The Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of groups associated with Black Lives Matter, released a broad, detailed list of demands earlier this month that they believe will help fight racism in housing, education, criminal justice, and many other aspects of American life.