Black Lives Matter affiliate Movement for Black Lives spent thousands of dollars to produce cloth face masks for protestors to send all around the United States. Some of the masks, which read “Stop Killing Black People” and “Defund Police,” have been seized by law enforcement. According to the Huffington Post, four boxes containing 500 masks each were shipped from Oakland, California to Washington, New York City, Minneapolis and St. Louis, but the packages never left California.
The tracking numbers associated with the boxes indicated that they were “Seized by Law Enforcement,” the outlet reported. It is unclear why law enforcement seized the face masks. Heavy reached out to the United States Postal Inspection Service but did not immediately hear back.
On June 3, Movement Ink, the company that produced the masks, informed its followers on Instagram about the seizure. In the caption of the post, Movement Ink wrote: “Update! Law enforcement has seized these masks and are not stating why! When [you’re] called to support you step up or step back. Sending energy and prayers to those on the front lines! Right on community appreciation to all of you interested in supporting please hit up @thepalmtreepapi if [you’re] interested in supporting!”
Movement for Black Lives spokesperson Chelsea Fuller told Huffington Post: “Police have rioted coast to coast, beating and gassing protesters who have called for an end to police violence, with the explicit approval of President Trump.”
Fuller also said: “Now, it appears they want to ensure that people who protest are susceptible to the same deadly pandemic that they have failed miserably at stopping. The continued surveillance and disruption of social movements under this administration is as chilling as it is dangerous. It should be roundly condemned.”
The Movement for Black Lives Hopes to Share Its ‘Vision for Black Lives’
Since George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, protests have erupted throughout the country. The Movement for Black Lives, which formed in December 2014, has been a vocal supporter of the protests in the U.S. According to its site, the movement “seeks to reach millions, mobilize hundreds of thousands, and organize tens of thousands, so that Black political power is a force able to influence national and local agendas in the direction of our shared Vision for Black Lives.”
The movement’s main agenda is Project 2024, which focuses on five “Black Power Rising Pillars”: Mass Engagement, Local Power, Electoral Strategy, Leadership Development and Building Across Movements/Multiracial Strategy. According to the official website:
In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities in the U.S. and Globally, a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country have come together with renewed energy, strategy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda: The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL).
Movement Ink Has Been in Operation Since 2009 & Has a History of Contributing to the Community
According to the company’s website, Oakland-based mask producer Movement Ink has a long history in social work. The company, which opened in 2009, stated that it has a background “in organizing, violence prevention and youth advocacy work, Movement Ink has a [deep-rooted] investment in impacting and contributing to our community.”
Due to COVID-19 business closures, Movement Ink has “been quiet” according to an Instagram post from the company on April 7. It wrote, “Our Business, family and community are sharing an unprecedented crises. We just want you to know we appreciate your business but value your health more than $.”