Black Lives Matter Movement Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
By Christopher Brito, CBS News
The Black Lives Matter movement that galvanized people across the world to fight against racial injustice has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Petter Eide, the Norwegian lawmaker who made the nomination, spoke to CBS News on Monday about why he did so.
"I believe that Black Lives Matter is the largest and strongest social movement in the world today, fighting racial injustice," Eide, 61, told CBS News.
"In a world where there is increasing tensions on racial injustice and also on conflict based on inequalities and ethnic and cultural differences, I believe that building consciousness and awareness on racial matters is extremely important," he said.
Black Lives Matter became a nationwide — and worldwide — rallying cry following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police last May. Protests prompted a reckoning with the racial injustices and disparities that persist in society today. The movement, which was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Travon Martin's killer, acknowledged the nomination on Friday in a tweet.
"People are waking up to our global call: for racial justice and an end to economic injustice, environmental racism, and white supremacy. We're only getting started," the group, often known by its initials BLM, wrote.
A broad number of people worldwide, ranging from university professors to members of national legislatures to previous Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, are eligible to make nominations with few restrictions.
Others nominated recently include polarizing political figures such as former President Donald Trump, former White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The possibilities of who can be nominated are "kind of far reaching," Eide said, adding that as long as nominators can argue a nominee falls under the Nobel testament, "it's open up to nominate anyone you like."
"When Trump and Putin, for instance, are nominated… because when people do that, they know that there is no chance for them to receive this prize," Eide told CBS News. "The nomination process is a political statement."
However, Eide made clear that his support for Black Lives Matter doesn't reflect a personal comment on American domestic politics. He noted that the Norwegian Nobel Committee has honored movements fighting racial injustice before, including in 1964 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. won it for his leadership in the civil rights movement.
A CBS News poll last summer showed strong support among Americans for Black Lives Matter. Though right-wing critics have tried to blame the movement for looting and violence, a study analyzing over 10,000 Black Lives Matter protests show they were overwhelmingly peaceful.
"If you go 55 years back in time, when Martin Luther King received the Peace Prize, exactly the same arguments came up," Eide told CBS News. "This is nothing new. People that are against those those movements, they will argue in that direction."
This story was originally published by CBS News on Feb. 1, 2021 at 5:33 p.m. ET.